#TankaTuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 269, 4/12/22, #Colleen’s SpecificForm:TankaProse


This week’s form:

Tanka Prose

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

Tanka Tuesday Cheat Sheet






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.

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.

Follow the schedule listed below:

Now, have fun and write some tanka poetry!

#TankaTuesday #Poetry Stars No. 260 | #Abhanga

Welcome to our weekly poetry stars’ celebration. This week’s challenge was to write an Abhanga poem, which is 6-6-6-4, with an end rhyme scheme of abbc.

Abhanga, “the completion” is a stanzaic form commonly used for devotional poetic composition although it has also been used for cynicism, satire and reflective moods. It was popular from the 13th thru 17th centuries Marathi Region of India and is described as complex and classic.

The abhanga is a Marathi form, Marathi being one of the major languages of India. It is the official language of Maharashtra, and is also spoken in several neighbouring states in the west of the country, including Goa and Karnataka.” 


Reena also shared that Sant Tukaram composed some of the first Abhanga poetry:

“Tukaram, also known as Sant Tukaram, was as an Indian poet and saint in the 17th century. He was one of the saints of the Bhakti movement in Maharashtra who composed the devotional poetry, Abhanga. His kirtans aka spiritual songs were devoted to Vithoba or Vitthala, an avatar of Hindu god Vishnu.”


And, Sangeetha shared more information about the god, Warkari, who the devotional poetry was written for:

Warkari (Pronunciation: [ʋaːɾkəɾiː]; Meaning: ‘The one who performs the Wari‘) is a sampradaya (religious movement) within the bhakti spiritual tradition of Hinduism, geographically associated with the Indian state of Maharashtra. Warkaris worship Vitthal (also known as Vithoba), the presiding deity of Pandharpur, regarded as a form of Krishna.”


Many thanks to everyone who joined in below:

1.Reena Saxena10.Laura McHarrie19.Selma
2.ben Alexander11.wildchild4720.Gwen Plano
3.https:// willowdot21. wordpress. com12.Yvette M Calleiro21.Jules
4.Harmony Kent13.Ken Gierke / rivrvlogr22.Ruth Klein
5.Kerfe14.Donna Matthews23.Sri
6.Trent McDonald15.Eugenia24.theindieshe
7.s. s.16.D. L. Finn25.You’re next!
8.The Versesmith17.Elizabeth  
9.Annette Rochelle Aben18.anita dawes  

Even though the Abhanga was traditionally written to honor a deity, it’s a versatile form for modern poets as well. There was some stunning poetry out there! Thank you all for joining in!

Be prepared for playfulness with Annette Rochelle Aben’s Hoist the Main Tail. Or Trent McDonald’s Between the Worlds. And, don’t forget Anita Dawes’ Abhanga.

These are just a few of the impressive poems contained in this week’s collection. Please have a read.

A special thank you to Harmony Kent, who 🐦tweeted and retweeted🐦 our poetry on Twitter. #TankaTuesday is gaining a loyal following many thanks to Harmony and our poets. 🙏🏻

Several of you have the twitter share button on your blog, but it isn’t linked to a twitter account. If this is an oversight, here’s your chance to fix it. Otherwise, might I suggest you remove the share buttons to make it easier? (Go to My Sites/Tools/Marketing/Sharing Buttons and follow the instructions).

Happy Valentine’s Day! <3

See you tomorrow for the new challenge!

#TankaTuesday #Poetry Stars No. 256 | #SpecificForm: haiku

Welcome to our weekly poetry stars’ celebration. This week’s challenge was to write a haiku. I shared the basics of how to write a haiku and gave you some visual and musical inspiration.

I was totally in awe of all the great poetry you all created. I shared some additional information about writing haiku vs. senryu on colleenchesebro.com, which created some excellent discussions.

If the subject of your poem is nature, it’s a haiku. If the subject of your poem is a human, it’s usually a senryu. Now, that’s pretty generalized, so read the cheat sheet to understand the differences between haiku and senryu. I also go over those differences in my book, Word Craft: Prose & Poetry.

I’m a purist or traditionalist when it comes to Japanese poetry, so for the challenges we will stick to the basic forms. However, explore all the different ways of writing haikai poetry through your own research.

Many thanks to everyone who joined in below:

1.Reena Saxena10.Greg G19.kittysverses
2.ben Alexander11.Sangeetha20.Colleen Chesebro
3.Veera12.Sri21.D. L. Finn
4.willowdot2113.Jude22.D. Avery
5.Gwen Plano14.Harmony Kent23.anita dawes
6.Laura McHarrie15.Selma24.Elizabeth
7.Trent McDonald16.Yvette M Calleiro25.Kavya Janani. U
8.Annette Rochelle Aben17.Kerfe26.Ruth Klein
9.Jules18.theindieshe27.You’re next!

This week, I’ve selected D. Avery’s haiku to feature. This poem memorializes the poet’s view of an owl at night.

The kigo is “moonlight frost” which means it’s winter, or at least that it is cold outside.

What a great pivot (kireji) her last line gives us. D. compares the “breathless night” to the silence of the owl flying overhead. What great imagery. I guess that’s why the owl is such a great night hunter—you don’t hear them coming!

Haiku does not deal with generalizations. Haiku is not philosophical; they are stark, disciplined, and to the point.

moonlight frost feathered 
breathless night brushed by shadow—
how silent the owl

© D. Avery

Next month, I’ll select another syllabic form for us to practice. I’ll also give examples of how to write the specific form and tell you what I can find out about the form’s history. As a bonus, I’ll provide a song or another piece of poetry to inspire your own poetry creation. Occasionally, I’ll include information about a literary poet who also writes this form.

Thanks for writing syllabic poetry with me. <3

See you tomorrow for the new challenge!


I love haiku. They are one of my favorite syllabic forms to write. This haiku is written for #TankaTuesday and the specific form challenge.

Haiku are written about nature, the seasons, a beautiful moment in nature, an emotional experience while in nature, or change. In haiku, your subject will always be about nature.

The use of a kigo (season word) is optional for this challenge. However, traditionally, a haiku must include kigo (season words) and a kireji (cutting word).

There is no exact equivalent of kireji in English. The kireji (or pivot) should supply structural support to the verse. At the end of a verse, it provides an ending, completing the verse with a heightened sense of closure. That is why it is often called an “a-ha moment.” The pivot connects the two images in an unusual way. When writing haiku, we should create two independent thoughts that compare or contrast.

Bring the images down to the barest of information. That is the brevity we always talk about. Use simple, and plain descriptive language.

Haiku does not deal with generalizations. Haiku is not philosophical; they are stark, disciplined, and to the point. The idea is to capture a mindful moment in time and memorialize it with your words.

When you create haiku, think in images. We’re creating a haiku with two images that connect in some strange way.

a bright night—
shadows of wet snow
veil the street

© Colleen M. Chesebro

This haiku shares two images: a bright night, and the shadows of wet snow. You know how bright a night can look when the moon shines with snow on the ground. The contrast is the wet snow or gray slush. It looks like shadows on the street. The slush veils the street, not completely covering it. It’s the contrast between the two images, light and dark, that is memorable.

That is how simple it is to write a haiku. Take two images, compare or contract them, and find that pivot line to make us remember your haiku.