Thursday, September 04, 2008

Best Canadian Tanka Poets

Dear Editors and Poets,

As you probably know by now, I am the editor-in-chief of Take Five : Best Contemporary Tanka, forthcoming from Modern English Tanka Press in 2009. I and my editorial team have set ourselves the goal of reading all tanka published in English during 2008, regardless of the source.

Therefore we would appreciate your help in getting the word out to Canadian tanka poets and editors. Due to the large number of works published we cannot afford to purchase all of them, although we do have the major tanka journals covered. We need especial help identifying and obtaining copies of works that are not as well known, such as poets' websites, chapbooks, non-traditional media, etc.

Any person, poet, or editor, may submit work for our consideration. Please send the published work as it appears, eg, the chapbook, journal issue, broadside, etc, to us. If finances are an issue, we can also accept PDFs and photocopies. Poets may not nominate individual poems of their own and loose leaf manuscripts of poems will not be accepted. Every tanka in a published work will be reviewed. Since we must track down the finalists for permission to reprint, and since the original publication swill be credited, it is necessary to have the copyright and business pages of the works from which the nominations are drawn.

Any poem is considered 'published' if it appears in a public forum, eg, a printed text, a website that is accessible to the general public (sites that require the user to log in are not 'published' and ineligible), a public exhibition or performance open to the general public, etc. It does not matter if the venue was edited or not; self-published materials are also eligible, provided they were made available to the general public. (Twenty copies of a broadside a poet gave only to friends and family are considered 'private circulation' and not eligible. Only if a random member of the public could have seen/obtained the work is it considered 'published.')

Please send printed works to:

Take Five : Best Contemporary Tanka
P O Box 1118
Elkton, MD 21922-1118

All materials become the property of the editors and will not be returned.

Please email URLs, PDFs, and other web related material to: kujaku (at) verizon (dot) net. [Note to editors, please do not publish my email address as a link; I format it this way to foil spammers.)

Thank you for helping me to get the word out.



M. Kei
Editor-in-chief, Take Five : Best Contemporary Tanka

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Saigyo Awards for Tanka 2008

The Saigyo Awards for Tanka is a new contest sponsored by Carolyn Thomas. I sent my entry fee and contest entry, wondering what it would be like. Well, the results arrived in the mail today. Thomas has produced a simple but elegant broadside of several pages featuring the winners and a number of Honorable Mentions. One of my poems received an Honorable Mention:

a white sail
skimming through
my dreams
teaches me the meaning
of everything

I received a bookmark with my poem printed on it, plus a certificate of achievement along with the broadside of winning poems. I saw a number of familiar names among the winners, as well as poets who are strangers to me. Generally speaking, they are the highly romanticized poems that have long been a staple of the genre in English. There were also a number of poems with explicit Japanese or Oriental references. While the quality of most of the poems is obvious, there were a couple of Honorable Mentions that puzzled me because they seem jejune to me.

No information was provided about how the winners will be disseminated (if at all). If you want to find out how to read them, you'll have to contact Carolyn Thomas herself, but she didn't provide email contact. You'll have to send an SASE via snail mail to make your query.