M. Kei is a tall ship sailor and award-winning poet. He is the editor-in-chief of the anthology series, Take Five : Best Contemporary Tanka, and the author of Slow Motion : The Log of a Chesapeake Bay Skipjack, a log kept in verse form which is Recommend Reading by the Chesapeake Bay Project (USA). He has edited and authored several other books of poetry and a major journal, Atlas Poetica : A Journal of Poetry of Place in Contemporary Tanka. He is also the author of the award-winning gay Age of Sail adventure novels, Pirates of the Narrow Seas. The first novel may be read for free online at: NarrowSeas.blogspot.com. He can be reached through Keibooks@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @kujakupoet
Atlas Poetica is a journal that promotes poetry of place in modern English tanka. The ambitious goal of poet, novelist, and essayist M. Kei editor of the journal is to assimilate traditional Japanese short poetry into a developing English short verse tradition. Atlas Poetica publishes poetry, articles, essays, reviews, interviews and other features by contributors throughout the world.
In this issue, there is an editorial by M. Kei discussing new developments in tanka. A general trend is a loosening of traditional verse structure while maintaining the basic five line form. This fits particularly well with American tendencies toward freedom from internal constraints. There is a section containing tanka in sets and sequences, and one with individual tanka. Both sections illustrate the diversity of perspective of tanka poets. Several reviews of tanka books are presented showing the interesting connection between short verse and the personalities of poets. Articles in the journal include a biography of a Catalonian tanka poet, Carlas Riba, and a declaration by Japanese poet Taro Aizu distinguishing a less structured type of five line poetry (gogyohshi) from other short Japanese verse.
The grounding of the poetry produces interesting dimensions in the artistic work. A tanka placed in Florence, Italy draws a different set of emotional reactions from the reader than one placed in Chesapeake Bay, USA. The readers' memories and associations of place are brought out immediately as they enjoy the minimalist lines. I have learned from M. Kei's work that it is more important to show in a worldly context than to tell in a groundless narrative.
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