small songs I sing
to join
my voice to other voices
hidden in the grass

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

TSA Anthology 2016

News from the Tanka Society of America:

2016 Anthology:  

We are pleased to announce plans for TSA’s 2016 members’ anthology to be published in the fall. The book will be co-edited by Jenny Ward Angyal and Susan Constable. Ken Slaughter will be in charge of production.
Submissions for the anthology will be open July 15–August 15, 2016 for current (2016) members of the Tanka Society of America or those who join within the submission period. 
If you’re not a current member, you are invited to join or renew today at:  http://www.tankasocietyofamerica.org/how-to-join 
Submission Guidelines will be posted June 15.  Please begin to think about sending 5-10 tanka for consideration when the submission window opens.  Beginning this year, one copy of the anthology will be sent to each TSA member as a membership benefit.  Additional copies will be available for purchase on Lulu.com ($10 plus postage).

~  Contest Reminder:

We are accepting submissions for the 2016 Sanford Goldstein International Tanka Contestuntil June 30.  Please visit the TSA website for complete details on how to submit:


Thursday, April 7, 2016


My mother used to sing to horses.  She claimed that “Get Me to the Church on Time” from My Fair Lady soothed the skittish buckskin mare. But when she sang in the presence of human beings, they generally begged her to stop.  From my mother I absorbed the notion that both she and I were simply born without music, just as we’d been born without wings. It took me over sixty years to discover she was wrong; by then she was ten years dead without a song.

inside this chrysalis
of doubt—
trembling wings
unloosed by melody

Saturday, February 27, 2016


cold fog 
enveloping my world
pours from the radio 
the light of trumpets

~GUSTS 21, spring/summer 2015

cello concerto—
no need for string theory
to convince me
the universe vibrates
to a deeper harmony

~A Hundred Gourds 4:4, Sept. 2015

the musician
speaks of going deeper
into the music—
playing for himself alone
he wraps us in his magic cloak

~GUSTS 22, fall/winter 2015

Friday, February 12, 2016

with cold lips

frost flowers
melting on the windowpane—
my breath
a passageway
among the stars

~Ribbons 11:1, winter 2015

nine red birds
in a swirl of snow. . .
have they flown
from some fairy tale
yet to be written?

~red lights 11:2, June 2015

with cold lips
she tastes the snow
on frozen pomegranates—
Persephone dreaming
of meadowsweet and rue

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


in the hedgerow
I fall into step
with the quick of their wings

~cattails Jan. 2015

in cold rain
a sparrow alights
for a moment
on my grocery cart—
my urge to curtsy

of Literature and Arts 2:1, Feb. 2014

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Eucalypt Distinctive Scribblings Awards

The Distinctive Scribblings Awards

The Awards recognise two outstanding poems from each issue of Eucalypt,
selected and appraised by winners of the Awards in the previous issue.

squiggly gum picSeveral species of eucalypts (gums) exhibit distinctive squiggles that result from moth larvae eating the live wood and leaving a scar that is revealed when the tree sheds its bark. This image of a gum with its insect-generated calligraphy, inspired the naming of the award. 


          Eucalypt  Issue 19, 2015
ancestral valley –
the way prayer flags
flicker light at dawn
I carry this in my heart
each time I leave home
                — Sonam Chhoki  

horseshoe –
the blacksmith’s hammer
singing on the anvil
beating out the rhythm
of long-lost luck

— Jenny Ward Angyal  


TSA Tanka-Prose Contest Winners

Special-event Tanka Prose Contest Winners

The Tanka Society of America is pleased to announce the winners of its first-ever tanka prose contest, held this 15th-anniversary year:

1st Place: Urszula Funnell (UK), "Checkmate"
2nd Place: J. Zimmerman (USA), "Ah Morelia" 
3rd Place: Claire Everett (UK), "The Window Poem"
Honorable Mentions: Jenny Ward Angyal (USA), "Gaps," and David Terelinck (Australia), "Carved in Stone"

Much appreciation goes to poet and editor Bob Lucky, who diligently served as judge for this blind-review contest. We're also very grateful to poet and TSA volunteer Susan Burch, who worked behind the scenes in helping us administer the contest, especially in building the judge's electronic file of anonymous entries. And a huge thanks, of course, to the sixty-nine poets from around the world who submitted entries.

To read the winning tanka prose pieces, please go to the TSA website. Note that the full judge's report, including contest commentary, will be published in the winter 2016 Ribbons. The judge's comments will be added after that to the website. 

Janet Lynn Davis
TSA vice president & contest coordinator, 2014-2015