WELCOME TO #TANKATUESDAY!
This week’s form:
Here’s how to write tanka prose:
TANKA PROSE: We write Tanka prose from the first person point-of-view. The prose paragraph(s) must also seek to be, if not poetic, at least something that grabs our attention. It must compete with the verse in its style, intending to be inventive and expressive all on its own.
The tanka portion is 5-7-5-7-7, or short, long, short, long, long. There are many tanka prose combinations, such as Idyll: (One prose paragraph and one tanka) tanka/prose, or prose/tanka; Verse Envelope: tanka/prose/tanka; Prose Envelope: prose/tanka/prose, including alternating prose and verse elements of your choice.
Don’t forget the style of the prose paragraph. You choose the preface, or the poem tale to style your poem.
The Preface (explanation): This is where the prose paragraph is narrow, concerned with only providing the reader a factual summary of the basic information including the time and place, the name of a person, or a public occasion as the reason for writing on the set topic. A tanka follows the prose. Or you can write your tanka as the preface, and your prose reflects on the tanka.
Poem Tale (episodic narration): gives way to a subjective and more expressive interpretation of the scene or event the poet is writing about. It gives the poet the opportunity to share intimate details or thoughts with their reader. A poem tale can be a mini short story or even a biography. Remember to include a beginning, middle, and ending.
The following example is tanka prose (prose envelope) written in the poem tale (episodic narration) style:
“The Russian Spring”
The great Rus, a land once dominated by Tsar’s, dictators, communists, and now, by a cruel despot who longs for the glory days of the USSR. Putin’s mission is clear—he aims to reclaim all the territory that once made up the Russian empire. To prevent the Russian state from collapsing, he must halt the eastward spread of these treacherous, subversive ideas—by crushing them in Ukraine. Even if those ideas are figments of his imagination…
springtime in Russia the peasants dance in the streets attempt to forget the horrors of death and war honor the spring equinox
Putin, the autocrat, rules the people. He tells them what to think… “Remember Siberia,” they cry in hushed tones.
“The more restrictive a regime becomes, the more paranoid a leader grows because the people don’t understand what is happening in society,” whispers the shadows of the past… “Remember Stalin…” they mutter in small voices.
old memories fade— Putin sits on a gold throne his puppets perform women and their children sing while the men perish in war © Colleen M. Chesebro
Write your tanka prose in either the Poem Tale or Preface style in whatever feels the most natural to you.
Read more about how to compose TANKA PROSE
While you’re visiting, check out the tanka contest sponsored by the Tanka Society of America:
2022 Sanford Goldstein International Tanka Contest Guidelines
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
Word Craft: Prose & Poetry – The Art of Crafting Syllabic Poetry
- Create your tanka prose and teach us how to write the style you chose. Try not to use “ing” ending words to satisfy the word count.
- Post it on your blog. Include a link back to the challenge in your post. (copy the URL: https:// address of this post into your post).
- Copy your link into the Mr. Linky below (underlined with a hyperlink). You might have to delete your previous entry.
- Please click the small checkbox on Mr. Linky about data protection.
- Read and comment on some of your fellow poets’ work.
Follow the schedule listed below: