Poetry 101: The Tanka

Poetry 101: The Tanka

By James Matthew Byers


Greetings from the Darque Bard!

Today’s poetry blog introduces the tanka. This form of Japanese poetry has existed nearly 1,200 years. It’s similar to a haiku. It has five lines with thirty one syllables total. The lines are broken into the following format: 5/7/5/7/7. It can be about nature, seasons, or a manner of strong emotions. I’m going to compose one here:

Beneath the water
Unimaginable things
Hid with Grendel’s kin
Waiting for their next morsel
Any taste of flesh would do

These are a fun and easy way to express yourself poetically.

Now you try one! Happy writing!!!

-The Darque Bard

About the Author

James Matthew Byers, the Darque Bard, is a published, award winning poet. He has been in numerous anthologizes, eZines, and magazines, such as Weirdbook, Grievous Angel eZine, and Heroic Fantasy Quarterly. His debut publication, Beowulf: The Midgard Epic, was published in 2016 by Stitched Smile Publications and is a rhyming version of the ancient poem. He has also won or placed in multiple contests in the Alabama State Poetry Society. He resides in Odenville, Alabama, drifting between the forests. A bard’s work is never done.