My Journey into Tanka

First published on Facebook on 25 April 2016, and then in Ribbons 12:2, Spring/Summer 2016, page 91.

My journey into tanka began with haiku and other short poetry. It was easy to embrace tanka while I was also writing and publishing haiku. Tanka seem freer than haiku, with broader range, allowing more than just an extra two lines. I have been writing tanka since about 1989, and in 1991 or so I started inviting tanka submissions for Woodnotes (before there were any journals devoted exclusively to tanka). In early 1994 I edited and published the tanka anthology Footsteps in the Fog, and founded the Tanka Society of America in 2000. Pat Shelley was an early inspiration for me in writing tanka, and I wrote the following poem for her after she died in 1997:

        April comes
        and now you are gone,
        you, who told your guardian angel
        each year on your birthday,
        not yet

                Hummingbird 9:3, 1999

Michael Dylan Welch
Founder of the Tanka Society of America
TSA President, 2000–2004
Webmaster, 2013–present