How to Write a Tanka Poem in English

Colleen Chesebro✨The Fairy Whisperer✨

As many of you already know, I love structured poetry. This includes the Haiku, the Tanka, and the Haibun. I like to think of myself as a student of these poetic forms. Learning to write them correctly is an art form in itself. I think that’s what appeals to me the most, the arrangement of the syllables.

One of my favorite poetic forms is the Japanese Tanka. These poems are untitled and do NOT rhyme. A true Japanese Tanka counts thirty-one sounds because they don’t count syllables in Japanese Haiku or Tanka.

“The word Haiku, for example, is two syllables in English, but three sounds in Japanese.” (mandy’spages.com) Click on the link to learn more about the Japanese Tanka structure.


080717_1817_ColleensWee9.png For the poets who follow my weekly poetry challenge , we will follow the 5/7/5/7/7 syllable structure. Your Tanka will consist of five lines written in the first…

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