Saturday, November 10, 2018

United Haiku and Tanka Society, Fleeting Words Tanka Competition, 2018

Seedpods - October 2018 (e-newsletter of the UHTS)

I offer my thanks to judges Carole MacRury and Michael McClintock for honouring me with the following awards:

We are pleased to recognize the following tanka for their contribution to a literature we have come to love and which continues to attract readers and poets in diverse cultures around the world. The glory of such a wide forum is that, while nurturing what is held in common among people everywhere, it also invites individual, personal, and intimate expression of human experience.

These poems grabbed and held our attention through many readings, including re-readings of the entire roster of entries. We extend warm congratulations to the poets who wrote them. As a group, they represent a healthy, sincere, and growing engagement with tanka in contemporary poetry.

We are grateful to Sonam Chhoki and Marianna Monaco for coordinating and managing all the details that went into this annual event. They cheerfully provided us with all we needed at each step of the process.

a smudge
of blackbirds swirling
into evening . . .
how fluid the shape
of this sorrow

2nd Place

Judges' comments:

This well-constructed tanka uses sibilance to enhance the fluidity of the reading as well as the fluidity of the emotions shown through the image in the first three lines. This fine poem by Debbie Strange shows the power of understatement and the power of imagery to express deep emotions. It has that magic space where readers may enter with their own experiences. Deep sorrow, as most of us know, comes unexpectedly in dark, wave-like moments just like the "smudge of blackbirds swirling into evening". Every single word earns its place in this poem.

snow whirls
outside the henhouse . . .
father cups
my hands around
a warm brown egg

3rd Place

Judges' comments:

A sensory poem that takes us from whirling snow, straight into the warmth of a henhouse, the warmth of a father/child relationship, and the warmth of a freshly gathered brown egg. Debbie Strange's use of "cups" gives a wonderful tactile sense and understanding to this moment's magical combination of both fragility and solidness—of the brown egg, and of the love palpably felt between father and child. All is fused in one powerful image. That is quite a feat. The winter metaphor in the first line could also allude to the day when the child will draw sustenance from this warm memory long after the father is gone.

I carry
an ocean within
my pocket . . .
this blue lace agate
etched with ancient tides

Honourable Mention

Judges' comments:

...Finally, Debbie Strange writes a tanka that holds time itself in a pocket, a vast cycle of geological processes and change, as shown through a blue agate etched by the tides.

(note: there were 270 entries from 18 countries)

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