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Author Biography

Contents

Endorsements

Articles & Reviews

The Way of Tanka

by Naomi Beth Wakan

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The Way of Tanka is an approachable yet comprehensive examination of the Japanese form of poetry known as tanka. The author, Naomi Beth Wakan, discusses its roots in early Japanese courts where it was considered the poetry of lovers, as well as its adaptation to western culture and the characteristics that separate it from the more popular form of Japanese poetry: haiku. Throughout, Wakan weaves her story of personal self-transformation as she moved from the more disciplined writing of haiku to the more metaphorical and philosophical writing of tanka. Numerous examples of tanka are provided, and the rich explanation of the experience of writing tanka encourages readers to write their own tanka while remaining open to the possibilities it provides for personal growth.

LITERARY CRITICISM / Poetry
POETRY / General

ISBN: 978-1-941830-60-4 (print; softcover; perfect bound)
ISBN: 978-1-941830-61-1 (digital)

LCCN: 2017933986

144 pages

Author Biography

Naomi Beth Wakan is the inaugural Poet Laureate of Nanaimo (2013-16) and the inaugural Honorary Ambassador for the British Columbia Federation of Writers. She has published over fifty books. Her essays are in Late Bloomer: On Writing Later in Life; Composition, Notes on the Written Word; Book Ends: A Year Between the Covers; A Roller-Coaster Ride: Thoughts on Aging (all from Wolsak and Wynn Publishers); and On the Arts (Pacific-Rim Publishers). Her poetry books include Sex after 70 and Other Poems and And After 80 . . . (Bevalia Press) and Bent Arm for a Pillow (Pacific-Rim Publishers). Wakan is a member of The League of Canadian Poets, Haiku Canada, and Tanka Canada. She lives on Gabriola Island, British Columbia, Canada with her husband, the sculptor Elias Wakan.

Contents

INTRODUCTION
TAKE A LOOK
SO WHAT DO WE HAVE HERE?
PIVOT LINES AND LAST LINES
TANKA REVIEW
TANKA COMPARED WITH HAIKU
USES OF TANKA
VARIETIES OF TANKA
LOVE TANKA
NOSTALGIA AND TANKA
WITTY TANKA — KYŌKA

 

RESPONSE TANKA
EKPHRASTIC TANKA
TANKA AS SELF-EXPRESSION
TAN RENGA
JAPANESE SENSITIVITIES
TANKA POETS — MY TEACHERS
ENVOI
TANKA EXERCISES
SOURCES
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Endorsements

"What a wonderful and delightful work! My sincere congratulations to you on your significant accomplishment in producing a text that I believe will quickly become a standard in tanka education. Having read it, I felt as if I had taken a personal seminar with a great teacher who cares deeply about the subject.”
Denis M. Garrison, poet and photographer


"Naomi Beth Wakan brings us another ground-breaking book, The Way of Tanka. The first book of its kind in Canada, it attempts to get to the heart of this developing form and includes not only the author’s insightful commentary, but also quotes from some of the most eminent scholars, publishers and writers of the form today. This comprehensive introduction to tanka includes an in-depth look at contemporary tanka through the author’s explication of tanka written by a number of poets, along with many other fine examples and commentary. This is Naomi Beth Wakan at her best, as teacher, motivator and therapist. At last, a comprehensive guide in one book, sure to inspire both beginners and seasoned poets."
— Carole MacRury, author, In the Company of Crows: Haiku and Tanka Between the Tides; past board member, Tanka Society of America, and the United Haiku and Tanka Society


"Written in a lucid and readable style, Naomi Beth Wakan's The Way of Tanka is a highly practical guide that instructs readers on how to write tanka. She not only provides a good sampling of published tanka that represents a broad spectrum of stylistic and thematic varieties, but also includes her detailed comments on some of the tanka that are thematically or structurally significant. I particularly like the section on “Pivot Lines and Last Lines.” Her book gives readers a renewed appreciation of this minimalisitc yet highly expressive genre—tanka, 'the perfect vehicle for capturing the swift, direct pulse of emotion.'"
— Chen-ou Liu, award-winning poet; translator, NeverEnding Story


"Naomi Beth Wakan, a very talented poet, and eager reader of poetry books and journals, is intelligent, and always curious, so it’s no wonder her new book, The Way of Tanka, is simply brilliant."
— Kozue Uzawa, editor, GUSTS: Contemporary Tanka


"Naomi Beth Wakan casts her fiendishly curious and observant mind to the world of tanka. In her witty, conversational way, Naomi guides us through the many possibilities and permutations English-language poets have brought to the tanka tradition."
— Ann Graham Walker, poet; journalist; and president, Federation of British Columbia Writers

"Overall an excellent book by Naomi Beth Wakan, marked by her humility, openness, and deep insight. This handbook is as useful to experienced practitioners as it is to a novice.  A must have!" 
— Shrikaanth Krishnamurthy, editor Blithe Spirit

Articles and Reviews

"The Way of Tanka by Naomi Beth Wakan," Graceguts, August, 2017. Ultimately, this is a groundbreaking book . . .

Phyllis Reeve, "It Takes One to Tanka," The Ormsby Review. 6-8-2017

Marie Marshall, "Review of Naomi Beth Wakan’s ‘The Way of Tanka,’" The ZenSpace. 4-29-2017

Chen-ou Liu, 劉鎮歐, "Cool Announcement: New Release, The Way of Tanka by by Naomi Beth Wakan." 4-9-2017.

Rachel Stern, "Inaugural poet laueate Naomi Beth Wakan honoured with first poem on Nanaimo’s Poetry Walk," Nanaimo News Bulletin. 3-28-2017.

 

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