Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Editor's Introduction:
Kirsty Karkow
[ bio ] [ email ]

Simply Haiku features the works of many accomplished tanka poets, with interviews and insights into how these poems were written. On the internet you can find a wealth of information about tanka history, its developing English form and avenues for learning more. There are countless books. The Tanka Society of America, with its quarterly journal, Ribbons, and international membership provides criticism, reviews and scholarly articles. You can explore it at Modern English Tanka is an expansive website laden with articles and ideas to inspire and enthuse both the novice and the experienced poet.

So there is no need to describe or define the English-language tanka poem. It is variable, growing and thriving possibly because there are no restrictive or absolute rules to follow beyond the fact that it is a five-line, short, phrased, lyric poem that evokes the spirit, the rhythm and structure of its Japanese ancestors.

As a tanka editor for Simply Haiku, I am not rigid about requirements but avoid the avant garde and anything blatantly crude.

First of all, let the submissions be good poems. I am interested in exploring new possibilities and expanding the edges of the five-line envelope. Is there an awareness of language? Does the poem touch the reader? How does it sound when read aloud? Is one moved to a new understanding? Are the ideas, the presentation and the image fresh? Is the poem powerful?

Modern language and contemporary settings are totally acceptable as are the more classic ways of writing. A reader likes to get a feel for the poet's individuality and hear his/her unique voice. Poems can have a formal 5/7/5/7/7 or short/long/short/long/long structure or be free verse. Innovation is always interesting.

So. Please submit 5-20 untitled individual tanka or a titled tanka sequence up to 6 poems. A mixture of published and unpublished poems is acceptable. Please include a short biography. All this should be sent in the body of the email (no attachments) with a subject line of "Simply Haiku tanka submissions" to

Let's create a gathering of tanka from all around the world.

Kirsty Karkow

Copyright 2008: Simply Haiku