Asked in Poetry

Should Tanka poetry be written in a certain voice or with a certain mood?


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No. The defining feature of tanka in English is the structure of five poetic phrases. They can treat any subject and take any approach. However, tanka is an ancient form and numerous traditions have developed, of which one of the most important is 'yuugen' (mystery and depth) or what we call in English 'dreaming room.' That is to say, the unwritten is just as important as the written part; poems must permit, even require, multiple readings. The best way to learn more about tanka is to read good tanka. Several websites provide resources and poetry:, (which includes lessons for novices), (home of the journal of the same name),, and many others. M. Kei Editor-in-chief, Take Five : Best Contemporary Tanka