Friday, January 31, 2014

Love Month

This year's "Love Month" is about to begin at twigs&stones: both serious and not-so-serious tanka, most of them from the anthology Fire Pearls 2. 

The pictured plate is part of a set my kind husband bought (from Williams-Sonoma) sometime before we were married—supposedly for himself, hmm, yes, sure...!

P.S. Maybe you have a few "love" tanka or other small "love" poems you'd care to share, or poetic responses to mine? If so, please add them to a comments page (and, if you like, I also can formally post them later).

Sunday, January 26, 2014

I meander

I meander
through tall pines,
before morning
find myself in a forest
of green flannel sheets

Modern English Tanka, Spring 2007

Monday, January 20, 2014

Collaborative tanka sequence: a swatch of gauze

Writing responsive or other collaborative sequences appears to be quite popular for many tankaists these days. Here's one I wrote with poet Jenny Ward Angyal (also see the previous post). In my several years as a tanka poet, I'd never collaborated in sequence form before; neither had Jenny. It was a fascinating experience, and I was honored to have such a good partner. Hope you enjoy the little journey we took as we responded to each other's words. Was the journey imaginary or "real"?

P.S. We decided to post this sequence on our respective blogs at around the same time.

a swatch of gauze

the clear wings
of a dragonfly
on my hand
a treasure map
of copper veins

into the hollow
of an oak
I search for pennies
stashed away by an elf 

among apple blossoms,
a gray tree frog—
I follow the trill
of another world

of a watercolor
mountainside ...
how to get there
when I have no brush?

the blue ridge
in light and shadow
I slip through the eye
of my own needle

left right
north south east west—
a feather
on a course of zigzags
becomes my compass 

a sparrow
missing one eye
alights on my knee ...
the distant music
of a blind harper

rendered mute
by a waterfall—
in a grotto
of lava and fern
I speak in poems 

a scallop shell
bound in a bale 
of mulch—
my inland journey
to the sea

at home
among pine needles 
a strand
of golden thread
to bind my seams

—Jenny Ward Angyal and Janet Lynn Davis
Skylark, Winter 2013

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Guest Poet: an eggplant (plus travel photos)

An eggplant isn't the guest poet, but Jenny Ward Angyal is. I consider Jenny to be one of the most gifted and appealing writers of English-language tanka today. Her keen, unique perception and special bond with nature flavor her poems. I have many favorites. Here's but one from her ever-growing collection. It's an ekphrastic tanka (inspired by a piece of art; see her links below): 

an eggplant
squats on the counter
fecund and faceless
as the Venus of Willendorf –
my knife in midair

I was excited to learn we'd be passing by the wee town of Willendorf on our river cruise this past November. The program director even announced the town on the loudspeaker—and mentioned the ancient little Venus figurine that made it famous. We managed to shoot a photo or two:

A scene in Willendorf, Austria

I also was excited when I noticed this shop window in tiny, medieval Durnstein, a short ways down the Danube (wish I had one of those Venus of Durnstein figurines!):

Notice how the colors coordinate with the colors
used in local architecture?

Many thanks, Jenny. Please peruse her blog, The Grass Minstrel, sometime. Also be sure to check out the above two links associated with her Venus tanka. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Strolling through

strolling through
the holiday market
each year
the array of delights
delighting us less

—A Hundred Gourds, December 2013

With this tanka, I'm stretching out the holidays a bit! (AHG asks that you wait at least 40 days after they've published your work before you share it again with the world.) I can find it hard to let go of Christmas anyway; my tree and other stuff often are up well into January. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Morning walk

morning walk—
I dismiss the pinched nerve
in my hip,
resolve to make peace
with the thorns in my side

A Hundred Gourds, 2:3, June 2013