I tried writing a new kind of poetry today called Tanka. It is similar to Haiku in that is another short poem style from Japan. There are only five lines and the lines have a certain number of syllables. Traditional Tanka has 5-7-5-7-7 syllables per line. Since English doesn’t sound like Japanese the syllables can vary. It might be 4-6-4-6-6 or something similar. According to the Handbook of Poetic Forms, Tanka poems are mood pieces. They represent a moment in time and shouldn’t be too sentimental.
I like to refer to this book and try different formats. It is easy for me to sit, watch nature pass me by, and write something free style. Flowing prose which is descriptive of whatever is going on around me. For me to try these other styles it helps to stretch my writing abilities and makes me think outside my own free form. I enjoy the challenge.
It is interesting to try to capture a moment in 31 syllables. How would you describe an incredibly happy moment or a tragic moment in 31 syllables? How would you describe a flower in 31 syllables? It presents a challenge to make it fit and have it make sense.
Try it and see what you think….