Wind Five Folded

First published in Woodnotes #22, Autumn 1994, pages 40–41.

Wind Five Folded, edited by Jane and Werner Reichhold. AHA Books, 1994, xxvi+230 pages, hardback,5¾ by 8¾ inches. $15.00 postpaid from AHA Books, P.O. Box 767, Gualala, California 95445 [address no longer correct]. Wind Five Folded, as the largest English-language tanka anthology yet published, is a milestone along the tanka road. Jane Reichhold has expended much effort to further tanka’s growth, and this anthology is but one fruit of her labor. The book’s introduction traces the history of tanka and its developments in English, then launches readers into the poems with the caveat that the book’s purpose “is to document what is currently being written and named tanka.” With this understanding readers are afforded a fairly comprehensive view into recent English-language tanka. It offers 575 selections by 156 poets; most poems are culled from submissions to the ongoing Mirrors International Tanka Awards and the resulting Tanka Splendor series of books. The poems vary greatly, in quality content, and form—from the expected length of 31 syllables down to sheldon young’s minimalist: “food/shelter/sex/ /i am so/cold.” Although some experiments may range too far (falling flat), topics vary greatly and often move beyond the long-standing themes of love and relationships (a development that seems to indicate tanka’s maturation). Readers will know many poets here, yet many names may be unfamiliar—so at the very least this book enlarges the connections between tanka readers and writers. Its greater value is to document much (although not all) of the breadth of recent English tanka, and to further emphasize this country’s surging interest in this form of poetry. As a hardback book, Wind Five Folded is a bargain at just $15.00. If you are at all interested in tanka, this book should not be missed.