Saturday, 31 March 2012

Tanka and Haiku by Bryan Cook with Coaching from Grant D. Savage

old china
boxed in the closet
of grandma’s parlour
not to be touched or sold

grand piano
fills the living room
where small fingers learned
music on its ivory

a cardinal
in the maple flowers
to stake his claim
warmed by the sun

ice floes
on the flooding river
hooded man
pollutes the view
with graffiti

high tea
with croquet on the lawn
fortunes sunk
to the bottom
of fine porcelain

(grant’s version)

croquet on the lawn
forget-me-nots and high tea
in fine porcelain
telling fortunes from the leaves
loves and lives not meant to be
(my cluttered version!)


a cardinal sings
in the maple flowers
staking claim
(by me)

croquet and high tea
in the fine trimmed lawn
( by Grant Savage)

Context for Tanka and Haiku by Bryan Cook with Coaching from Grant D. Savage
I have corresponded a lot with Grant who graciously gave me lots of pointers and reviewed and improved my haiku and tanka… some cases re-writing them!
I distilled from our correspondence the following guidelines for writing Tanka:

Tanka guidelines
• short, long, short, long, long
• pivot on third line ( first three and last three to make independent sense around the pivot
• slim and light…avoid being ponderous, pompous and trying to be too clever
• nature reference ( not an absolute necessity, but often expected)
• seasonal reference ( often implied) or an embedded passage of time (recommended)
• just a couple of ideas or topics….not overburdened with detail
• a human sentiment or condition anywhere in the tanka though usually in the last two lines
I wrote the graffiti tanka after seeing a vandal spray paint the "No Anchor" sign beside the Ottawa river

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