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The Tanka Or The five-lined love letter (sort of).

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1 The Tanka Or The five-lined love letter (sort of)

2 Some History Much older than the Haiku Much older than the Haiku Dates back about 1300 years Dates back about 1300 years Famous for being used as thank-you notes between lovers after a hook-up… Famous for being used as thank-you notes between lovers after a hook-up… –WHAT!??!

3 Oh, yeah… In a culture where it was expected and accepted, one lover would send a “thank-you-for-that-go- round” tanka. Then the other lover would promptly reply with a tanka of his/her own. Even though such things were expected, it was still done in secret. It could be written on a fan or on a paper that was tied to the stem of a flower for covert delivery.

4 We will only be practicing the format – NOT the setting.

5 Yes, This was Popular… Worthy lover = skilled tanka writer. Worthy lover = skilled tanka writer. Tanka contests. Tanka contests. Around 700 AD, emperors ordered anthologies be made. Around 700 AD, emperors ordered anthologies be made. More tankas than any other poetic form. More tankas than any other poetic form.

6 More History… The tanka form was also part of a popular poem- game The tanka form was also part of a popular poem- game One poet would write the first three lines One poet would write the first three lines Another poet would finish it with the final two lines – Repeat. Another poet would finish it with the final two lines – Repeat. This was called renga which means “linked poem” This was called renga which means “linked poem” The tanka was also used when a poet wanted to commemorate a significant event. The tanka was also used when a poet wanted to commemorate a significant event.

7 Format 31 syllables divided into 5 lines: 31 syllables divided into 5 lines: –Line 1: 5 syllables –Line 2: 7 syllables –Line 3: 5 syllables –Line 4: 7 syllables –Line 5: 7 syllables

8 Format Like the haiku, the tankas traditionally deals with nature and seasons, but unlike the haiku, the tanka emphasizes the feelings of the author. Like the haiku, the tankas traditionally deals with nature and seasons, but unlike the haiku, the tanka emphasizes the feelings of the author. Sometimes, in the third line would be an image or an idea that would link the subject of the first two lines with the subject of the final two lines, thus drawing a connection between the two ideas. Sometimes, in the third line would be an image or an idea that would link the subject of the first two lines with the subject of the final two lines, thus drawing a connection between the two ideas.

9 Example Since the nightingale kept soundless, its song’s echo renders me stone deaf. If it would know my sorrow would it maybe sing again? ~Vasile Moldovan Can you find all of its parts?

10 Example annotated… ( Since the nightingale syllables)kept soundless, its song’s echo syllables)kept soundless, its song’s echo renders me stone deaf. Images inIf it would know my sorrow first and lastwould it maybe sing again? first and lastwould it maybe sing again? two lines two lines ~Vasile Moldovan Focus on both natureImage in line 3 both natureImage in line 3 and feelings

11 Examples in the check-out line a worn face ahead of me turns tentatively… realities of desire fade in final reckoning ~George Knox

12 Two Famous Tanka Writers Izumi Shikibu If completely cold were we and had ended it, forgetting you would come easily. Ono no Komachi Did he appear Because I fell asleep Thinking of him? If only I’d known I was dreaming I’d never have wakened.

13 Examples translations… My longing for you – too strong to keep within bounds. At least no one can blame me when I go to you at night along the road of dreams. ~Ono no Komachi ~Ono no Komachi

14 Examples translations… I know it must be this way in the waking world, but how cruel – even in my dreams we hide from others’ eyes. ~Ono on Komachi ~Ono on Komachi

15 Assignment Write a minimum of 3 tanka on any school-appropriate subject Write a minimum of 3 tanka on any school-appropriate subject Pick your favorite and make it perfect – type ‘em. Pick your favorite and make it perfect – type ‘em. These will be due first thing tomorrow These will be due first thing tomorrow


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