XV:3, Oct., 2000
A Journal for Linking Poets
Articles, News and Letters
Tanka Society of America
M.L. Harrison Mackie
As we have become more familiar using poetic techniques as metaphor and simile, juxtaposing, shifting and leaping in poetry, should we not be looking for a term that seems to have the potential power to unite these techniques? I’m suggesting that we use the word ‘blending’.
The poets from India and the Middle East created their ghazals by blending images in a way we learned to appreciate under new aspects. Almost all of Europe’s poetry, beginning from the early mythological stories, the sagas till today’s attempts toward language looks, from a certain point of view, as it is based on blending. Studying literature of the second half of the 20th century, we’re sharing the pleasure finding more and more translations of Japanese works. It’s no surprise that the Japanese genres fit right into the basic techniques composing poetry through the centuries in other regions of the world.
The oldest form of Japanese poetry, the tanka blends two images with the use of a pivot line. Linked verse means basically ‘blending collaboratively’, putting the energies of two or more writers together creating symbiotic poetry. The haiku, in all of its variations, is on the way as a usable form to be adapted and changed through other languages than Japanese, presents at its core two images open to the inventive powers of a poet to blend them. Also composing prose and poetry, in Japan called haibun, has a good chance to be integrated as an addition to the countless western works on display.
Here, one wants to add one more thought on the Japanese form of haiga (artwork plus writings). At the time it appeared and earlier, all around the world in a more or less developed form, text and art was blended together producing synergy. The examples range from works in stone and wood to works on papyrus, silk, paper, plastic and other materials. In all of its variations it was a valid form throughout the history we can trace back. I’m not saying one can’t go on adding ideas and works to the existing techniques. But at the same time we have to realize that after the possibilities we explored performing plays, music, dance and video appearing together as multimedia shows, the word blending reached into a new dimension, meaning in its very essence: it became three-dimensional, a holistic art form. And please look at the fact that we get it delivered on screen right into our homes. Is it supposed to blend our daily lives? A question heavily loaded with challenges in our perception of the arts.
We’re glad to see that more and more Japanese writers are able to study world literature and feel free to blend it with their own rich cultural background. It may take a few more years and we’ll probably see more Japanese poets getting involved with longer forms of poetry. Here, I mention three of some poets who already explored the field of sequencing after western concepts: Shuntaro Tanikawa, Makoto Ôoka and Ito Hiromi. All three of them are proof how the changes of viewing the poetry of foreign cultures may result in success. Their individual point of view depends on a new vision blending the old forms of short poetry, linked verse and haiku and at the same time freeing their works from an overload of seasonal aspects to reach out for the open minded reader worldwide.
The English speaking public, the writers and publishers have been watching carefully the different magazines appearing in North America. AHA Books, publishing the former magazine Mirrors International Haiku Forum and now the magazine Lynx, took on the leading role focused on all of the Japanese genres and not separating them the way they’re handled traditionally in Japan and in other English magazines. Making it more easy for a global participation of poets and readers who want to get informed about all Japanese genres plus western forms of poetry, we moved the magazine Lynx here on the Internet. The valued technique of blending within a poem continues into the beyond as the various genres become blended in a new way as part of mainstream poetry. Thus, you will notice new ways of indicating the diverse genres presented by Lynx.
THE JAPAN POETS' SOCIETY (Nihon Kajin Club) will hold its 3rd International Tanka Convention in Vancouver, BC, Canada on the afternoon of September 27th, 2000. The meeting, held at the Renaissance Hotel on 1133 W. Hastings Street, beginning at 1:00, will be moderated by Hatsue Kawamura and Mitsue Kurahashi. The affair will be opened by a speech by Takao Fujioka, President of the Nihon Kajin Club. The main speeches will be made by the Deputy Mayor of Vancouver and the Consulate General of Japan in Vancouver. A large contingent of Japanese will be flying in from Japan in addition to the Japanese from Canada who will attending, thus the meeting will be in Japanese. One of the highlights of this meeting is the awarding of prizes in the tanka contest which was judged by Chiuko Kawai, Tsunehiro Hayashida, Heikichi Mitome and Miroshi Matsuzaka. For the first time this year, the Society also held a contest for tanka in English. The judges for this aspect were Hatsue Kawamura, Hiroshi Shionozaki with Jane Reichhold, who wrote the comments on the top three winners. Out of the 189 English entries were the following prizes awarded: First Place: Margaret Chula (USA); Second Place: Laura Maffei (USA); Third Place: Melissa Dixon (Canada); Fourth Place: Koichi Watanabe (UK); Fifth Place: Amelia Fielden (Australia); Guest: Fr. Neal Henry Lawrence (Japan) plus 25 Runners-up. Afterwards, at 6:30, a reception will be held for socializing. Additional information can be requested from the Nihon Kajin Club.
The first newsletter of the Tanka Society of America, edited by Pamela Miller-Ness has made it fall appearance. In it is a report of the society's organizational meeting on Friday, April 14th during the Global Haiku Festival at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, at which time the following officers were elected: Michael Dylan Welch, President; Paul O. Williams, Vice President; Larry Lavenz, Treasurer; Job Conger, Secretary; and Pamela Miller-Ness, Newsletter Editor. The organization plans a tanka contest with the deadline of November 30, 2000. Prizes: First Prize - $100; Second Prize - $50.; Third Prize - $25. The prizes may be reduced if an insufficient number of entries is received. Payment of $1.00 per entry is required. Unlimited number of entries can be typed on 8 x 11 sheets of paper (in triplicate) and sent with your check (made out to Larry Lavenz), and SASE to Job Conger, 428 W. Vine Street, Springfield, IL 62704-2933. Questions can be addressed to Job Conger. The name of the judge will be revealed after the contest.
LETTERS TO LYNX
. . .I like the format of Lynx on-line, it is neat and easy to use. I have to admit I sympathized with all those who wrote letters lamenting the end of Lynx as a paper magazine, but I think the future of both tanka and haiku are going to be much affected by on-line publication. One of the advantages, I think, will be a wider international readership. It is so easy to surf around the net and see what is going on, and to me that is the thing I want first for a work I've written: a reader, many readers, to share it with. Carry on - and all best wishes, Larry Kimmel
. . .How sorry I am that I lost track of Lynx until a few days ago. However, the e-Lynx looks good--clean and simple and accessible. I will I will I will I will get stuff (participation links, ghazals and/or sijo) for the next ish. If you haven't yet, would you be willing to link to The Ghazal Page on your site along with a note in next Lynx inviting submissions to TGP? I'm planning to add some external links to TGP next week. (I'm working on my Linux configuration, learning more than I thought I would about esoterica like Emacs, the BASH shell and tarring and zipping. Yeehaw!!) Thank you for all the good work you do for poetry and for your past and, I hope, future submissions to The Ghazal Page. Gene Doty
. . .I teach world literature (including topics in Asian philosophy and poetry) and creative writing at Virginia Intermont College in Bristol, and am the author of five collections of poetry and creative nonfiction, including THE ARTIST AND THE CROW (poems), Purdue University Press. I also publish my poems and prose parables widely in such journals as "TriQuarterly," "Western Humanities Review," "Commonweal," "Poetry Northwest," and "Tricycle: The Buddhist Review," and am the recipient of an NEA Poetry Fellowship. I've recently completed a small collection of Western tanka and sestets in the Italian form, called FIELD NOTES, which will be published in letterpress format (with original woodcut illustrations by Anita DeAngelis, a local professor of art) at a small press connected with East Tennessee State University, in late 2000. I'd greatly appreciate your considering five of the informal tanka drawn from that forthcoming collection, which vary considerably inline-length, but hopefully render some natural observations in a concise and lively way, striving for a fusion of Asian/Western expression and ideas. P.S. As a youngster I lived for a number of years in the Japanese Zen Buddhist communities of Niigata and Yamaguchi. Dan Stryk
. . . In Canada for over forty years I had a career (under the name Peg Dixon) as an actor and sometime-journalist in Winnipeg, Toronto and Vancouver. I am now retired, living happily on Vancouver Island, close to two sons and daughter on the Lower Mainland, B.C. Since 1992, I have had a number of haiku published in Canadian and American magazines, one which gained a "Best-of-issue Award" in Modern Haiku, ("valley sunrise" from Vol. XXVIII, No.2, Summer, 1997); was also awarded "Best-of-Issue" for a haibun, again in Modern Haiku, ("the caves of Kanheri" from Vol. XXX, No. 1, Winter-Spring, 1999); plus I had a small selection of my poems, (titled "gazing at galaxies") published as a Haiku Canada Sheet last autumn. I have just this year discovered tanka. I am an escapee from the restrictions of haiku! And grateful thanks to you, Jane, for your generous contributions via the Internet! Helpful beyond measure! I will do my best to add to "tanka that stream from the love we can find no other way to express". While I am glad to have first dealt with the discipline of haiku's condensed forms, I now find the more reflective format of tanka, with its open, lyrical approach, more appealing to my nature. It is where I now intend to put my energies! Melissa Dixon
. . .Making LYNX an on-line journal means that you aid tanka poets to become part of the electronic world. Many of us do not care to make the change, changes are always disruptive. In this case the disruption is a constructive one. I have read and studied the first Lynx on-line, enjoyed the experience and, as usual, learned a lot. I will remain a part of the creative community supported and encouraged by the Reichholds. Below are my tanka which I'd like for you to read them and I hope they are worthy of this NEW phase of the old journal. David Bachelor.
. . .I've been meaning to write for a good while, but time in its usual way has been getting the better of me. Contrary to my reservations, I think the online version of Lynx is superb. The layout is such that anything that I chose to print out looked really good on the page - so not only does it look great onscreen but readers will still be able to 'curl up' for a good read :-) Congratulations! . . .I hope you're also enjoying the reduction of hassles that come with publishing hard copies! I was also pleasantly surprised to see my four tanka get a reprise in the first online issue. I've appended a few more for your consideration for the next issue, and look forward to tuning in sometime in October. No postal delays! Bliss! Thank you for also including details of Snapshots and Tangled Hair in Lynx listings, and for the kind comments on Tangled Hair. After a rocky two years the production is set to stabilize in 2001, both journals becoming semiannual. I don't know how often you change the listings, but would it be possible to list the new subscription prices for these? Both subscriptions are the same price: Semiannual. Subscription: $20 US check/banknotes. Single issue: $10 US check/banknotes. Checks payable to 'Snapshot Press'. The address has also changed (though the one listed is concurrently valid until the end of the year). The new address is: Snapshot Press, PO Box 132, Crosby, Liverpool, L23 8XS, England. John Barlow
. . .How is your summer? Perhaps less rushed than previously, now that Lynx is an online cat. Larry tells me that you are finding the switchover very successful. I'm glad for your sakes, and I suppose nostalgic subscribers will sooner or later catch up to changing times! Carol Purington
. . .In case you don't subscribe to the Mendocino Beacon, I wanted
to let you know Mary Bradish O'Connor "let go" at home peacefully on
May 28th. She will be missed by those of us who knew and loved her. M.L.
For several years Mary Bradish O'Connor contributed tanka to Lynx. Some of these poems she included in her inspirational book, Saying Yes Quickly - something she had to do as she fought breast cancer. M.L. Harrison Mackie at Pot Shards Press, in Comptche, CA, was the publisher.
. . .I received your postcard- the "Die Mutter des Mythos" image from the Textilmuseum. I am quite impressed with this work of yours. Also I checked out the issue of Lynx online. Very nice. I am not online as much these days. Just got burned out with the interaction of bulletin boards and other assorted problems. You may be interested in this note I received from my publisher. "I did want to give you updates. red clay is now featured book in amazon.com zshops to #1 position in poetry section and #2 in literature & fiction section. here is the URL for the poetry featured books:
This spring I published a beginner's How to Write Haiku/Cinquain. It is designed for school teachers, beginning writers with very elemental information. I asked the publisher to send copy to you for review. Also my second free verse manuscript is supposed to be published in June/July of this year. "Piedmont Stubble." Neca Stoller
The Lynx offices received the following letter/press release from ExtaTerrestial by email:
Announcement of the organization of the Galaxy Haiku/Tanka Club - Taking Poetry into the 4th Dimension. The historical organizational meeting was held in the first dark of the moon of the millennium. In honor of this super nova event, all future meetings will be held monthly at this special kigo time. You can become a charter member of the Galaxy Haiku/Tanka Club by sending a check for $15.00 (made out to The Man), 15 sand dollars or 12 IRC moonstones aboard the next shuttle space ship. It is planned to have a newsletter called From the Ear of the Rabbit. Be the first in your neighborhood to have your haiku/tanka printed on the moon! Part of the festivities of this first meeting was the proclamation of the winners of the organization's first annual contest. It was quite a surprise to find that the winning poems were written by attendees from each planet.
The First Place tanka was by Anonymous from Venus.
The First Place haiku was from Marsha of Mars.
ch ln wmf
You may be surprised to learn that we do have the politically correct distribution according to gender among our two winners. Anonymous is female, as she usually is, and Marsha is male, which reflects current trends beyond the earth. At the next yearly meeting a 25-member panel will discuss whether the use of the word "euck" in Marsha's poem brings it too close to being a senryu. If so, his gold medal may have to be returned. It is hoped that in the future, in the light of the quarter moon, this and other organizations can achieve an even better balance of the genders in officers and winners. The founders of the Galaxy Haiku/Tanka Club are now hard at work on a declaration of the history, rules and future of both genres. As yet, no officers have been elected for the Galaxy Haiku/Tanka Club because everyone is too busy writing a manifesto, edits, dictums and proclamations. A motion was made, however, and seconded, that instead, every member be made president. This was ratified by the agreement that WE ARE ALL STARS!
|Copyright © by Designated Authors,
Page Copyright © by Jane Reichhold 2000.
Next Lynx is scheduled for