Writing Tanka poetry
Tanka poems are an older form of Japanese poetry than haiku but are very similar to haiku poems, but a little longer. Like the haiku, they start with three lines of five, seven and five syllables.
The poet then adds a further two lines, each of seven syllables, making a total of 31 syllables whereas the haiku have only 17 syllables. So, in order, each line has 5 – 7 – 5 – 7 – 7 syllables.
Tanka poems are often about strong emotional subjects, like love or sadness, though this restriction is no longer the case with modern tanka written in English.
Here is a tanka poem I wrote this week.
Orchard adorned with
A pink and white petalled coat
In response to spring –
Followed quickly by green leaves
And a promise of summer fruit.
Like haiku, tanka poems are usually untitled.
If you would like to read some more of my poetry, click here.