Sunday, February 04, 2018

United Haiku and Tanka Society, Fleeting Words Tanka Competition, 2017

Seedpods - December 2017 (e-newsletter of the UHTS)

Message from Alan Summers - UHTS President

I am delighted and honoured to announce the results for the UHTS 'Fleeting Words' Tanka Competition.

The competition received 227 entries by poets from across the globe which was judged by David Terelinck. Everything was superbly coordinated by Marianna Monaco (USA) with unstinted dedication and patience. Note: Marianna made entries anonymous to send to the judge but the winners' names are given in this report. Please enjoy the winning entries and commentaries by the judge, David Terelinck (Australia).

the growth rings
of otoliths and trees . . .
when did she
become smaller
than her daughters

2nd Place

This tanka also has an effective metaphor for conveying change in just 20 syllables. Again, it is a tanka of satisfying construction that builds line by line to a solid conclusion. There are many ways to interpret this poem. We usually associate growth rings with maturity and coming of age; but there are several ways to grow older, yet become smaller in life and outlook. We do not know if the poet is implying smallness in physical stature, social situation, or spirituality and compassion.

The social context and times in which we read poetry will often influence our appreciation of the poem, and its impact upon us. This judge is no exception. At the moment Australia is going through a debate on changing the legislation to allow for same-sex couples to marry. This has seen, in some quarters, a schism of conflicting views between parent and child in terms of marriage equality. New generations can often have a larger world view of compassion and equality, and overtake their parents in challenging outdated notions. In this way, their views can grow to be "bigger" than the parent who raised them.

the pair bonds
of prairie voles . . .
she asks
if he used to be
her husband

3rd Place

A beautiful and fresh look at the anguish and pain associated with Alzheimer's disease. Just 15 words and 17 syllables to convey such depth of meaning.

Prairie voles monogamously mate for life. Even when one dies, the remaining vole is unlikely to take a new mate. This is a touching metaphor for the fading memory between this woman and her husband. We do not know if the woman is in an aged care facility or still living at home. What we do sense is the commitment to the relationship; he is either visiting, or still with her. Despite what memory and disease has taken away, the pair bonds for this couple remain strong. And a glimmer of this shines through in her faint recognition of him and her question.

the architecture
of impending storms . . .
every cloud
that hangs over me
has a given name

Honourable Mention

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