Twitterati, or Microblogging Tanka Poets
For the past year and a half, media descriptions of the opportunity to post updates such as, "Got up, made coffee, didn't get dressed," failed to illuminate why any sane person might want to make use of a microblogging service like Twitter. I dismissed it as yet another techno-toy of GenXers (or are we onto GenYers now?). I was quite surprised to stumble over a treasure trove of tanka within Twitter's archives.
People are tweeting tanka (and haiku and micropoetry) in great numbers on Twitter. While much of it is exactly what you would expect of poetry posted to a social media site, a surprising amount is good. Further, because each poet has 'followers' who often 'retweet' (repost) items they like, a good poem will be seen far beyond the poet's personal circle. As a result, each tanka poet has a readership larger than many tanka journals.
The thing that strikes me most about these poets is how they use tanka not as literature, but as communication. They talk to friends and strangers online and use tanka to illustrate something they have seen or experienced. They often accompany their tanka with images, links, and other items that provide context and amplify their conversation. Because their primary goal is to express themselves as effectively as possible, they have written eloquent, natural language poetry. That they have created literature is incidental; none of these poets had ever submitted tanka for publication in the print media and they were startled when I suggested that they should.
Thus, although Atlas Poetica normally seeks first world English-language rights for the tanka we publish, I am deliberately waiving that requirement in order to republish a number of fine 'Twitterati'—poets who have previously published tanka on Twitter and its ancillary services.
It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to Sean Greenlaw, Dirk Johnson, Marin Paul, Kris Lindbeck, and Alex von Vaupel. Sean Greenlaw, a mere stripling at only twenty-one, has already demonstrated a grasp of tanka that exceeds many poets twice his age and experience. Kris Lindbeck has turned her tanka eye on her home in Florida and rendered it as exotic as it is ordinary, while Marin Paul successfully blends classical sites with modern tanka in a voice that is uniquely her own. Dirk Johnson, a Buddhist, brings a quiet masculinity to the depictions of the redwood forests near his home in California while Alex von Vaupel's tanka are way stations in his travels between two countries.
If you have a Twitter account, I recommend you follow these fine poets.
Editor, Atlas Poetica
kujakupoet on Twitter
Taz and Yenisey Rivers, Siberia, Russia. Ice jams caused the Taz (left) and Yenisey (right) rivers to overflow their banks. Normally the rivers would appear as thin black lines. In this false color image, land is orange and sage, water is black, and clouds are white and pink.
Cover Image courtesy of Visible Earth by NASA
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Twitterati, or Microblogging Tanka Poets, M. Kei 7
Tanka in Sets and Sequences
Remembering My Father, Alexis Rotella 8
You Belong to Me, M. L. Harvey 9
Kyoko, Patricia Prime 10
Peregian, Mary Mageau 10
diary letter, stanley pelter 11
Minimalist Family Life, Sanford Goldstein 12
L'Aquila, Alexis Rotella 14
The Snowbirds Are Back! Bobbette A. Mason 15
Nine Car Pile Up, M. Kei 16
Mother's Day, Bobbette A. Mason 17
Stone Circles, Labrador, Claudia Coutu Radmore 18
One Morning in February, Bobbette A. Mason 19
Relic, Dru Philippou 20
Chinese Haircut, Bob Lucky 20
Bill, Abigail Greene 21
Society Archipelago, Cynthia Rowe 22
White Wind, Andrea Grillo 23
travelogue, John Samuel Tieman 23
North of Superior, Guy Simser 24
Andrew's Place, Abigail Greene 25
Crack of Dawn, Dru Philippou 26
Winter Rains, Gerry Jacobson 27
Allentown, Marylin Hazelton 27
Hunkies, Alexis Rotella 28
Bach at Piha, Patricia Prime 28
His Old Lake, Mike Montreuil 29
Moon, Marje A. Dyck 30
burnt images, Jo McInerney 31
Everybody Dies, Alexis Rotella 32
To Boldly Go, susan delphine
Confections, Tracy Royce 33
South of One Border or Another,
James Tipton 34
Clarity, Marje A. Dyck 35
Hatteras Island, Abigail Greene 35
Flowers and Gardens 37
Labor Day 38
Friends & Family 40
Individual Tanka 41
Narrow Road to the Interior, by Kimiko
Hahn, reviewed by Brian Zimmer 60