Thanks to Kenneth Slaughter for this well-organized and amazing resource! His blog really is “All Things Tanka.” If you’re not familiar with this traditional Japanese form, think Haiku, but slightly longer–five lines rather than three. Slaughter defines tanka as:
a short poem of five lines in length, which engages the imagination. Good tanka suggests far more than it actually says. Strictly speaking there is a syllable count for each line: 5/7/5/7/7/ for a total of 31 syllables. That’s because, in Japanese, tanka are usually written in 31 Japanese sound units.
He also explains some of the modern conventions of the form and provides some examples of his published tanka on his About Tanka page, which is a great place to start if you’ve never written tanka before or want to brush up on your tanka skills.
What’s next? Once you have some tanka written (or if you already do), you can browse all tanka related submissions by month, find open tanka contests, and even read tanka news. (Yes, I just used the word tanka 12 times in this post… make that 13).
Current listings include the following upcoming submission deadlines: