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The Tanka


									        The Tanka
The five-lined love letter (sort of)
                 Some History
 Much older than the
 Dates back about
  1300 years
 Famous for being
  used as thank-you
  notes between lovers
  after a hook-up…
    – WHAT!??!
                 Oh, yeah…
In a culture where it was expected and accepted,
  one lover would send a “thank-you-for-that-go-
  round” tanka. Then the other lover would
  promptly reply with a tanka of his/her own.
   Even though such things
   were expected, it was still
   done in secret. It could
   be written on a fan or on
   a paper that was tied to
   the stem of a flower for
   covert delivery.
We will only be practicing
 the format – NOT the
Yes, This was Popular…
            Worthy lover = skilled
             tanka writer.
            Tanka contests.
            Around 700 AD,
             emperors ordered
             anthologies be made.
            More tankas than any
             other poetic form.
                   More History…
   The tanka form was also
    part of a popular poem-
   One poet would write the
    first three lines
   Another poet would finish it
    with the final two lines –
   This was called renga which
    means “linked poem”
   The tanka was also used
    when a poet wanted to
    commemorate a significant

   31 syllables divided into 5 lines:
    – Line   1:   5   syllables
    – Line   2:   7   syllables
    – Line   3:   5   syllables
    – Line   4:   7   syllables
    – Line   5:   7   syllables
 Like the haiku, the tankas traditionally
  deals with nature and seasons, but unlike
  the haiku, the tanka emphasizes the
  feelings of the author.
 Sometimes, in the third line would be an
  image or an idea that would link the
  subject of the first two lines with the
  subject of the final two lines, thus drawing
  a connection between the two ideas.

              Since the nightingale
              kept soundless, its song‟s echo
              renders me stone deaf.
              If it would know my sorrow
              would it maybe sing again?

                                  ~Vasile Moldovan

Can you find all of its parts?
               Example      annotated…

(5-7-5-7-7       Since the nightingale
 syllables)      kept soundless, its song‟s echo
                 renders me stone deaf.
Images in        If it would know my sorrow
first and last   would it maybe sing again?
two lines
                              ~Vasile Moldovan
Focus on
both nature                          Image in line 3
and feelings
in the check-out line
a worn face ahead of me
turns tentatively…
realities of desire
fade in final reckoning

              ~George Knox
     Two Famous Tanka Writers
Izumi Shikibu

If completely
cold were we
                     Ono no Komachi
and had ended it,
forgetting you
                     Did he appear
would come easily.
                     Because I fell asleep
                     Thinking of him?
                     If only I‟d known I was dreaming
                     I‟d never have wakened.
Examples translations…
    My longing for you –
    too strong to keep within bounds.
    At least no one can blame me
    when I go to you at night
    along the road of dreams.

                      ~Ono no Komachi
            Examples translations…

I know it must be this way
in the waking world,
but how cruel –
even in my dreams
we hide from others‟ eyes.

      ~Ono on Komachi
 Write a minimum of 3 tanka on any
  school-appropriate subject
 Pick your favorite and make it perfect –
  type „em.
 These will be due first thing tomorrow

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