Saturday, December 29, 2007

Atlas Poetica Deadline

Atlas Poetica : A Journal of Poetry of Place in Modern English Tanka is nearing its deadline. Very little space is left. I have been pleased and impressed by the quality of the submissions and the number of international and indigenous submissions. Atlas Poetica aims to be a true 'atlas' of the tanka world, and we are well on our way to that goal.

Also noteworthy are the number of sequences submitted, some quite lengthy, as well as the use of prose with tanka. I deliberately designed Atlas Poetica with a large format to permit more flexibility in the types of poetry that could be effectively presented, and I'm pleased to see that coming to fruition.

There have been only a handful of submissions that clearly did not read the guidelines, but let me make it clear. We are a tanka journal. We are quite flexible about the tanka form and definition, but we will not publish things that bear no relationship to the tanka form. Your forty line free verse rant about the political situation in the Third World doesn't qualify. Turn it into tanka, which means also turning it into poetry and we'll consider it. Some of the poems we received addressed concerns of indigenous peoples in realistic ways, such as reporting poverty, alcohol abuse, and the effects of international adoption or natural disaster, and we welcome more poems upon these and other themes. Tanka need not be all rosy hued romanticism.

Nevertheless, we did receive many poems that present loving views of particular places and cultures, some in idealized forms and others with more realistic views of a place's merits and faults. There is a place for all such poems in the Atlas Poetica. Rant or paean, as long as they are poetry of place in the tanka form, they are welcome.

What we did not receive much of were sequences that incorporated other forms of verse with the tanka. There were no Wilsonian sequences, in which haiku alternated with tanka, no sequences with envoys or other techniques, and no tanka in alternate formation. We did get a little bit of sedoka, but since it didn't meet other requirements, it was declined. Thus the first issue appears as a very powerful endorsement of traditional English format of five phrases on five lines, but we wish to emphasize that this is an artifact of the submissions that came to us.

We encourage multiple forms, and are happy to consider cinquains and cherita (tanka derivatives) as well as other forms in combination with tanka. We are also willing to consider forms that were not derived from tanka, but which share characteristics of tanka, such as the word sonnet. Tan-renga, linked tanka, and renga are also welcome, where renga is understood to be the old style in which verses of three and two lines (total five) are written by multiple poets, with or without formal schema in the Japanese style.

The reading window for Atlas Poetica 2 will be March 1 to May 31, 2008. Please don't wait to the last minute to submit!

Atlas Poetica 1 is on schedule to be release March 1, 2008. It will be available through our publisher's web site,

For more editorial information about the journal, please visit our blog at

Thank you for your support,


M. Kei

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