The writing of tanka in English has been less famous than the writing of English-language haiku, but the earliest known English-language tanka collection was Ida Henrietta Bean's Tanka, in London, 1899. The first North American tanka collection was Jun Fujita's Tanka : Poems in Exile, in 1923. Tanka had been previously published in English by other authors, including Sadakichi Hartmann, who was better known as an art critic than poet. Tanka publication in English was sporadic until after WWII when various Japanese North American tanka poets began publishing anthologies and collections in Japanese, English translation, and bi-lingual editions. These efforts apparently began immediately after the poets were released from internment camps in Canada and the United States, but the oldest known anthology is Tana and Nixon's Sounds from the Unknown, 1963, and the Kisaragi Poem Study Group's Maple : poetry by Japanese Canadians with English translation, 1975. Similar works continue to be published sporadically. Because both books were translated from the Japanese, neither was the first anthology of English-language tanka.
Tanka came to the attention of poets writing English-language haiku in the 1980s, and during the 1990s some of the better known names in tanka and haiku publication, including Jane Reichhold, Michael McClintock, Sanford Goldstein, Michael Dylan Welch, Janice Bostok, Pat Shelley, Father Neal Lawrence, and George Swede, published tanka collections and anthologies, or mixed collections containing tanka, haiku and other forms. Though some tanka had been published in haiku magazines, with the out-pouring of tanka in Mirrors and the beginning of the Tanka Splendor Awards and resulting yearly anthologies by AHA Books, the interest in English tanka began to blossom. A Gift of Tanka by Jane Reichhold and the publication of Stanford Goldstein's Hut of the Small Mind,and Father Lawrence's Shining Moments by AHA Books opened the way for more tanka books, as did Michael Dylan Welch's anthology Footsteps in the Fog and then Jane and Werner Reichhold's anthology Wind Five Folded. Kenneth Rexroth's The Love Poems of Marichiko was also published. Originally presented as a translation from the Japanese, they were later shown to have been a hoax - the poems were Rexroth's own work.
Unlike Japanese poets who often write primarily or only in one poetry form, many English-language tanka poets also write other short poetry forms including haiku, senryu, and cinquain. Most early English-language tanka appeared in journals that featured a variety of small poem forms (although the main American haiku magazines published only haiku and sometimes senryu). Lynx (co-editors Jane and Werner Reichhold) has since 1992 been an outlet for tanka and tanka sequences in print and now online.
Only recently have there been journals devoted exclusively to tanka, including American Tanka (1996) in the United States, edited by Laura Maffei and Tangled Hair in Britain, edited by John Barlow. The first English-language tanka journal, Five Lines Down, began in 1994, edited by Sanford Goldstein and Kenneth Tanemura, but lasted only a few issues. The Tanka Society of America was founded by Michael Dylan Welch in April 2000. This society now publishes the tanka journal Ribbons. Tanka Canada also publishes a journal titled Gusts, and the Anglo-Japanese Tanka Society (UK) hosts a web site with tanka and articles.
Tanka publication expanded through the 1990s with the establishment of additional journals, online forums, and contests such as the Tanka Splendor Awards, but broadened in the early 21st century with the establishment of several tanka organizations working in English, and a proliferation of international sources. Various special-interest tanka groups have also sprouted, such as "Mountain Home," named for the English translation of the title of the famous collection of Saigyo's waka, the Sanka Shu ("Mountain Home Collection"). The number of literary journals (print and web) that regularly publish tanka in English now numbers in excess of twenty. Noteworthy journals not mentioned elsewhere include Modern English Tanka, Eucalypt, The Tanka Journal, Atlas Poetica, and more.
Tanka written in EnglishEdit
- Goldstein, Sanford. At the Hut of the Small Mind. Gualala, California: AHA Books, 1992
- Goldstein, Sanford. Four Decades on my Tanka Road. Baltimore, MD: Modern English Tanka Press, 2007
- Conforti, Gerard John. Now That the Night Ends. Gualala, California: AHA Books and Chant Press, 1996
- Lawrence, Neal Henry. Rushing Amid Tears. Tokyo, Japan: Eichosha Shinsha Co. Ltd.
- Lawrence, Neal Henry. Shining Moments. Gualala, California: AHA Books, 1993
- Reichhold, Jane, ed. Tanka Splendor. Gualala, California: AHA Books, 1990-2007
- Reichhold, Werner Reichhold. Tidalwave. Gualala, California: AHA Books, 1989
- Reichhold, Jane. A Gift of Tanka. Gualala, California: AHA Books, 1990
- Reichhold Werner. Bridge of Voices. Gualala, California: AHA Books, 1990
- Reichhold, Jane, and Werner Reichhold. Oracle. Gualala, California: AHA Books, 1993. The first linked tanka sequence in English(Citation needed)
- Reichhold, Jane, and Werner Reichhold, eds. Wind Five Folded: An Anthology of English-Language Tanka. Gualala, California: AHA Books, 1994
- Reichhold, Jane. Bowls I Buy. Gualala, California: AHA Books, 1996
- Reichhold, Jane, and Werner Reichhold, eds. In the Presence. Gualala, California: AHA Books, 1998
- Reichhold, Jane. Her Alone. Gualala, California: AHA Online Books, 2002. Tanka composed with prose
- Garrison, Denis, and Michael McClintock, eds. The Five-Hole Flute: Modern English Tanka in Sequences and Sets. Baltimore, Maryland: Modern English Tanka Press, 2006. ISBN 0-615-13794-6
- Garrison, Denis, and Michael McClintock, eds. Landfall : Poetry of Place in Modern English Tanka. Baltimore, Maryland: Modern English Tanka Press, 2007 ISBN 978-0-615-16264-5
- Kei, M., ed. Fire Pearls : Short Masterpieces of the Human Heart. Perryville, MD: M. Kei, Publisher, 2006 ISBN 978-1-4303-0999-4
- McClintock, Michael, Pamela Miller Ness and Jim Kacian, eds., The Tanka Anthology: 800 of the Best Tanka in English by 68 of Its Finest Practitioners, Winchester, VA, Red Moon Press 2003 ISBN 1-893959-40-6
- St. Maur, Gerald, ed. Countless Leaves. Edmonton, Alberta: Inkling Press and Magpie Productions, 2001
- Tasker, Brian, ed. In the Ship's Wake: An Anthology of Tanka. North Shields, England: Iron Press, 2001
- Ward, Linda Jeannette, ed. Full Moon Tide: The Best of Tanka Splendor 1990-1999. Coinjock, North Carolina: Clinging Vine Press, 2000
- Ward, Linda Jeannette. A Frayed Red Thread. Coinjock, North Carolina: Clinging Vine Press, 2000
- Welch, Michael Dylan, ed., Footsteps in the Fog, Foster City, CA USA, Press Here, 1994 ISBN 1-878798-12-X [the first anthology of English-language tanka(Citation needed) 48 pp. 115 tanka by 7 poets]
- Zheng, Ron L., Leaving My Found Eden, Seattle, WA, Literary Road Press, 2008, ISBN 1-934037-38-6
- Zheng, Ron L., Seven 1/2 and One, Seattle, WA, Literary Road Press, 2008, ISBN 1-934037-38-6
- Zheng, Ron L., Leaving My Found Eden: A Poetography Collection, Seattle, WA, Literary Road Press, January 2009, ISBN 978-1-934037-47-8
Tanka written in English onlineEdit
- Conforti, Gerard John, For My Brother Victor & Elsa His Wife
- Conforti, Gerard John. Now that the Night Ends
- Conforti, Gerard John. Spirit of the Wind
- Helsem, Michael. 404; & In the Time of the Fall of the Towers
- Reichhold, Werner. Cybertry Part II A
- Reichhold, Werner. Cyberpoetry
- Zheng, Ron L. "Poetography"
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