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

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Advent calendars

of advent calendars
my mother sent,
each marked with its year . . .
so many doors left open

~A Hundred Gourds 4:2, March 2015

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

the changeling

a stone angel
steps down 
from her pedestal—
the burden of wings 
others want her to wear

~A Hundred Gourds 4:2, March 2015

the empty shell
of a phoenix egg
sky blue
among the cinders
of who I used to be

fox, or smiling lion . . .
I rummage
my wardrobe
for this day’s mask

~Ribbons 11:2, summer 2015

Sunday, October 4, 2015

the river

across the river
the tune
my father used to whistle
on summer mornings 

~red lights 11:2, June 2015

no bridge
to that sunlit shore—
the stone
I skip across the river
falls short

~A Hundred Gourds 4:3, June 2015

step by step
I cross the stream 
on a fallen tree—
with open arms I balance 
childhood and old age

~Skylark 3:1, summer 2015

Thursday, August 27, 2015


one wayward iris
with its stem awry . . .
I reread
the scribbled comments
in my high school yearbook

~cattails 3: Sept. 2014

trying to free
a flailing black snake
in yards of bird netting . . .
the snarls of my karma

~cattails 3: Sept. 2014

sell your cleverness
and buy bewilderment—
finds me rapping
on the pawnshop door

~Bright Stars 6, Fall 2014
(Quotation in lines 1 & 2 is from Rumi)

Thursday, July 23, 2015


three nights
I dream of home
with locked doors—
a woman hands me a chart
marking the depths of the sea

my path
littered with the bones
of poems
I couldn’t write . . .
a blackbird whistling

a wren calling
in the piney wood
teacher teacher teacher. . .
I read aloud
from a scarlet leaf

my quarry—
a poem without words 
through the green glade
barefoot as music

a wisp
of thistledown drifting 
before me 
I linger by the brook
to pan for fool’s gold

clear notes
rising from my flute—
the gift
of water flowing
in a life without rain

~Skylark 3:1, summer 2015

Saturday, June 27, 2015


hot pink
handmade signs urge
Open Your Bible . . .
daylilies gone wild
bloom in the summer sun

~Atlas Poetica 20, Jan. 2015

our family values
on a billboard . . .
the homeless man’s sign
reads cancer in the bone

~Atlas Poetica 20, Jan. 2015

Monday, June 22, 2015

the child in me

an amber alert 
on my cellphone
at midnight 
the child in me 
goes missing in the dark

border crossing—
at the foot of the wall
between them and us
a handmade ladder
and a child’s torn shirt

~Atlas Poetica 20, Jan. 2015

Friday, May 29, 2015


an old woman
stoops to weed her poppies—
I glimpse
the sprite of a girl
still dancing inside her

~A Hundred Gourds 3:4, Sept. 2014

changing light—
a splatter of poppies 
at our meadow’s  edge
the silvery ghost
of Monet at his easel

~A Hundred Gourds 3:4, Sept. 2014

Saturday, May 2, 2015


my tongue
leaden with wondering 
what they’ll think . . . 
tangles of knotweed
overrun the irises

~GUSTS 20, Fall/winter 2014

from the dark night
inside me—
this gossamer presence,
her silver voice my own 

~red lights 11:1, Jan. 2015

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Tanka Sunday & Tanka Contest

The officers of the Tanka Society of America are pleased to share the following announcements: 

Save the Date: Tanka Sunday Is Back!
Join us on Sunday, October 18, 2015 (the last day of the Haiku North America conference), at the Desmond Hotel in Albany, New York, for another Tanka Sunday celebration. Tanka Sunday 2015 will have tanka readings, workshops, and presentations all afternoon and evening, plus a bookfair, group photo, and more.  Registration will be free  for everyone, including nonmembers (although donations will be welcome).  So mark the date on your calendar now, and watch for registration details later on our Facebook page and website and in member emails. Whether you attend the HNA conference or not, we hope to see you at Tanka Sunday 2015! Will you join us? 

Also, as a reminder, the submission window for the Sanford Goldstein International Tanka Contest opens tomorrow, May 1.

Saturday, April 25, 2015


A collaborative 
tanka sequence

Jenny Ward Angyal
  Julie B. Cain

in my old age
will I find again
flared skirts for a faerie host 
among its yellow petals

between hills 
softened in sunset fog 
one peach-stained spire... 
the only way to get there 
a tutu and toe shoes

a toadlet 
tiny as a moonstone
on my hand . . .
Queen Anne’s lace
ruched at my throat

my soul 
comes home late 
trailing muddy twigs 
and skeins of silver web . . . 
following fireflies 

~Bright Stars 6, Fall 2014

Saturday, April 18, 2015

shards of light

shards of light
through a tessellation 
of leaves—
pieces of a puzzle 
my hands can’t grasp

~A Hundred Gourds 4:1, Dec. 2014

I’ve been born blind . . . 
I poultice 
my third eye
with the meadowlark’s song

~Bright Stars 6, Fall 2014

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Sunday, April 5, 2015


the chorus
beginning at dawn
inside me
a thousand birds
all singing at once

~Ribbons 10:2, spring/summer 2014

running wild
in the meadow
I whisper my names
to the wakening earth

~red lights 10:2, June 2014

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


light fading
at the tunnel’s end
I slip away
down the fluted passage
inside a singing reed

to open the clear wings
of music
I breathe into my flute
a flight of butterflies

the murmur 
of wind-turned leaves
before a storm—
the soft cry of a mourning dove
echoes in my flute

~Skylark 2:2, Winter 2014

Thursday, March 12, 2015

almost spring

a cow’s skull
of polished bone—
through the orbit
of the eye
this patch of snowdrops

~red lights 10:2, June 2014

the slow chant 
of chorus frogs
near to freezing
my hands fill with starlight

~red lights 10:2, June 2014

Friday, February 27, 2015

an inland sea

I trace the rosy curve
of a conch,
sail by the stars
on my inland sea

~red lights 11:1, Jan. 2015 

ashes heaped 
in a walnut-shell boat
I sail
by the light of a candle
the caverns of the heart

~Moonbathing 11, Fall/Winter 2014

Monday, February 16, 2015


the shark’s tooth 
like a dragon’s tongue
filling my palm. . . 
bubbles of sea foam
on shifting sand 

~Atlas Poetica 18, July 2014

I am an inlet
of the only sea—
lodge in the tide pool
of my being

~Moonbathing 10, spring/summer 2014

Monday, February 9, 2015

Lost Worlds

from mountain glaciers
Pachamama’s belly . . .
her rising fever chills me

at 13,000 feet
I blow softly
across two coca leaves . . . 
the ritual of wishes

in the Temple of Virgins
on Moon Island—
I leave an offering
of blood-red gladiolus

the Uru people
live on islands made of reeds
cut adrift
I reach for the shore
in this river of stars

~Atlas Poetica 18, July 2014

This tanka sequence grew out of a trip to Peru & Bolivia in October, 2013.