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Atlas Poetica: A Journal of Poetry of Place in Contemporary Tanka Paperback – October 29, 2011
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
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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.