Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenges



Selma and I selected the painting for this week. It’s a Degas and you can read more about it HERE.

Remember, we can see what’s in the image, so write your poem using the image as an inspiration. Don’t just describe what you see in the image. Think about metaphor and allegory. Just remember to check which form you’re using. Some of the Japanese forms frown upon the use of metaphors. This challenge explores Ekphrastic writing, inspired by visual art.

A word about the painting and current events… Selma and I selected this painting together. The criteria we used to choose this painting relies heavily on current events: Putin’s war in Ukraine. 

Selma added, “The Russian Dancers… I wish to shed light on the livelihood of the Russian people. They are not to blame for what’s happening.”

We all know the Russian people do not know the truth about the war waged by Putin. They only know what Putin tells them. This painting is not a celebration of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Both Selma and I support Ukraine in its efforts to maintain its sovereignty. Please don’t take the meaning of the painting out of context. Remember the year it was painted. Degas is famous for his paintings of dancing women, especially ballerinas. Read more about the artist here.

What are the women celebrating? What kind of dance are they dancing? Let the painting inspire you—now, write some syllabic poetry.

Title: Russian Dancers
Artist: Edgar Degas (French, Paris 1834–1917 Paris)
Date: 1899 via https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/459097

Here are some sites that will help you write your poetry and count syllables:

Not sure how to write syllabic poetry? READ this FIRST: How to Craft Syllabic Poetry

Tanka Tuesday Cheat Sheet





Word Craft: Prose & Poetry – The Art of Crafting Syllabic Poetry


  • Write your poem inspired by the Ekphrastic image above using a syllabic form of your choice found on the cheatsheet OR from the Poetscollective.org. Watch your word choice. Do not use words that end in “ing.” Use imagery. BE creative and try alternative forms. Make sure you follow the directions on how to write the form. It’s always fun to share how to write the write the form so we can all learn together. Remember… we are still working with syllabic poetry forms.
  • Post it on your blog.
  • Include a link back to the challenge in your post. (copy the https:// address of this post into your post).
  • Copy your link into the Mr. Linky below (underlined with a hyperlink).
  • Please click the small checkbox on Mr. Linky about data protection.

Read and comment on some of your fellow poets’ work. Like and leave a comment below if you choose to do so.

The screenshot below shows what Mr. Linky looks like inside. Add your name and the URL of your post. Click the box about the privacy policy (It’s blue). As everyone adds their links to Mr. Linky, you can view the other submissions by clicking on the Mr. Linky link on the challenge post. All the links will show in the order of posting.

So, Word Crafters… who wants to have fun and write some syllabic poetry?


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