According to Wikipedia, Tanka (短歌, “short poem”?) is a genre of classical Japanese poetry and one of the major genres of Japanese literature.

Tanka consist of five units (often treated as separate lines when Romanised or translated) usually with the following pattern of:

5-7-5-7-7.* Note that the 5-7-5-7-7 is syllables.

The 5-7-5 is called the kami-no-ku (上の句, “upper phrase”?), and the 7-7 is called the shimo-no-ku (下の句, “lower phrase”?).

I was attracted to this form of poetry after a workshop with Ted Eames at Glyndwr University in which he introduced us to this poetic form. The fact that you can write so powerfully while using just a few words really appeals to me as my dexterity deteriorates. I would like to write a poem a day to help others understand the frustration and powerlessness felt when living with a progressive disability.

I cant promise that my early efforts will be any good, but I like to think that the poems will improve over the course of the year and help to build an entertaining and illustrative picture of what it means to be disabled in 21st century Britain.

To view examples of Tanka, click on the links below:

Shadow Poetry

Hello Poetry

My efforts at Tanka will begin on January 1st.



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