Tanka: Poetic Form. The Japanese tanka is a thirty-one-syllable poem, traditionally written in a single unbroken line. A form of waka, Japanese song or verse, tanka translates as "short song," and is better known in its five-line, 5/7/5/7/7 syllable count form.
Tanka: Poetic Form | Academy of American Poets - Poets.org
How to write a Tanka poem
The Tanka poem is very similar to haiku but Tanka poems have more syllables and it uses simile, metaphor and personification.
There are five lines in a Tanka poem.
Line one - 5 syllables Beautiful mountains
Line two - 7 syllables Rivers with cold, cold water.
Line three - 5 syllable White cold snow on rocks
Line four - 7 syllables Trees over the place with frost
Line five - 7 syllables White sparkly snow everywhere.
Tanks poems are written about nature, seasons, love, sadness and other strong emotions. This form of poetry dates back almost 1200 years ago.
Similarly, the other form is waka
It is a poem in thirty-one syllables, arranged in five lines, of 5/7/5/7/7 syllables respectively. For example, here is a poem written by a famous Heian-period woman, Ono no Komachi:
The flowers withered, (5)
Their color faded away, (7)
While meaninglessly (5)
I spent my days in the world (7)
And the long rains were falling. (7) (1)
The waka is often said to have an "upper verse," which refers to the first three lines, and a "lower verse," the last two. The haiku form is based on the "upper verse"; another form, called a renga, is made from alternating the two — first a three-line, seventeen syllable verse, then a two-line, fourteen syllable one, each by a different poet for up to a hundred verses!—from
|photo: Juan Fujita, 1919 Chicago Race Riot. Fujita was a poet who employed the tanka technique|