Waka (和歌, literally "Japanese poem") or Yamato uta is a genre of classical Japanese verse and one of the major genres of Japanese literature. The term was coined during the Heian period, and was used to distinguish Japanese-language poetry from kanshi (poetry written in Chinese by Japanese poets), and later from renga.
The term waka originally encompassed a number of differing forms, principally tanka (短歌, "short poem") and chōka (長歌, "long poem"), but also including bussokusekika, sedōka (旋頭歌, "memorized [head repeated] poem") and katauta (片歌, "poem fragment"). These last three forms, however, fell into disuse at the beginning of the Heian period, and chōka vanished soon afterwards. Thus, the term waka came in time to refer only to tanka.
Japanese poet and critic Masaoka Shiki created the term tanka in the early twentieth century for his statement that waka should be renewed and modernized. Until then, poems of this nature had been referred to as waka or simply uta ("song, poem"). Haiku is also a term of his invention, used for his revision of standalone hokku, with the same idea.
Traditionally waka in general has had no concept of rhyme (indeed, certain arrangements of rhymes, even accidental, were considered dire faults in a poem), or even of line. Instead of lines, waka has the unit (連) and the phrase (句). (Units or phrases are often turned into lines when poetry is translated or transliterated into Western languages, however.)
- 1 Forms of waka
- 2 Poetic culture
- 3 History
- 4 Tanka written in English
- 5 Famous waka and tanka poets
- 6 Famous waka collections
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 Notes
- 10 External links
Forms of waka
Chōka consists of 5-7 Japanese sound units phrases repeated at least twice, and concludes with a 5-7-7 ending.
瓜食めば子ども思ほゆ栗食めばまして思はゆ何処より来りしものそ眼交にもとな懸りて安眠し寝さぬ (Man'yōshū: 0337),
which consists of a pattern 5-7 5-7 5-7 5-7-7:
瓜食めば Uri hameba When I eat melons 子ども思ほゆ Kodomo Omohoyu My children come to my mind; 栗食めば Kuri hameba When I eat chestnuts まして思はゆ Mashite Omowayu The longing is even worse. 何処より Izuku yori Where do they come from, 来りしものそ Kitarishi monoso Flickering before my eyes. 眼交に Manakai ni Making me helpless もとな懸りて Motona kakarite Endlessly night after night. 安眠し寝さぬ Yasui shi nesanu Not letting me sleep in peace?
Tanka consists of five units (often treated as separate lines when Romanized or translated) usually with the following pattern of onji:
The 5-7-5 is called the kami-no-ku ("upper phrase"), and the 7-7 is called the shimo-no-ku ("lower phrase"). Tanka is a much older form of Japanese poetry than haiku. The chōka above is followed by an envoi, also written by Okura:
銀も Shirokane mo What are they to me, 金も玉も Kugane mo tama mo Silver, or gold, or jewels? 何せむに Nanisemu ni How could they ever まされる宝 Masareru takara Equal the greater treasure 子にしかめやも Koni shikame yamo That is a child? They can not.
[English translation by Edwin Cranston]
Even in the late Asuka period, waka poets such as Kakinomoto no Hitomaro made tanka as an independent work. It was suitable to express their private interest in life and expression, in comparison with chōka, which was solemn enough to express serious and deep emotion when facing a significant event.
In the early Heian period (at the beginning of the 10th century), chōka was seldom written and tanka became the main form of waka. Since then, the generic term waka came to be almost synonymous with tanka. Side by side with the new prominence of tanka came the development of forms of tanka prose, the melding of tanka and prose in single literary compositions. Famous examples of such works are the diaries of Ki no Tsurayuki and Izumi Shikibu, as well as such collections of poem tales as The Tales of Ise and The Tales of Yamato.
The Heian period also saw the invention of a new tanka-based game: one poet recited or created half of a tanka, and the other finished it off. This sequential, collaborative tanka was called renga ("linked poem"). (The form and rules of renga developed further during medieval times; see the renga article for more details.)
Various forms of wordplay were commonly employed in tanka, including standardized descriptive words called makurakotoba, puns that functioned to unite two different images called kakekotoba, and kutsukaburi (沓冠) in which the beginning and ending syllables of a poem spelled out a significant word.
There are still other forms of waka. In ancient times its moraic form was not fixed – it could vary from the standard 5 and 7 to also 3, 4, 6, longer than 7 morae part in a waka. Besides that, there were many other forms like:
- Bussokusekika: This form carved on a slab of slate – the Bussokuseki (silhouette of Buddha's feet stone) – at the Yakushi-ji temple in Nara. Also recorded in Man'yōshū. The pattern is 5-7-5-7-7-7.
- Sedōka (旋頭歌）: Man'yōshū and Kokin Wakashū recorded this form. The pattern is 5-7-7-5-7-7.
- Katauta (片歌）: Man'yōshū recorded this form. Katauta means 'Half song' in Japanese. The pattern is 5-7-7, just same as a half part of sedōka.
In ancient times, it was a custom between two writers to exchange waka instead of letters in prose. In particular, it was common between lovers. Reflecting this custom, five of the twenty volumes of the Kokin Wakashū gathered waka for love. In the Heian period the lovers would exchange waka in the morning when lovers met at the woman's home. The exchanged waka were called Kinuginu (後朝), because it was thought the man wanted to stay with his lover and when the sun rose he had almost no time to put on his clothes on which he had lain instead of a mattress (it being the custom in those days). Works of this period, The Pillow Book and The Tale of Genji provide us with such examples in the life of aristocrats. Murasaki Shikibu uses 795 waka in her The Tale of Genji as waka her characters made in the story. Some of these are her own, although most are taken from existing sources. Shortly, making and reciting waka became a part of aristocratic culture. They recited a part of appropriate waka freely to imply something on an occasion.
Much like with tea, there were a number of rituals and events surrounding the composition, presentation, and judgment of waka. There were two types of waka party that produced occasional poetry: Utakai and Utaawase. Utakai was a party in which all participants wrote a waka and recited them. Utakai derived from Shikai, Kanshi party and was held in occasion people gathered like seasonal party for the New Year, some celebrations for a newborn baby, a birthday, or a newly-built house. Utaawase was a contest in two teams. Themes were determined and a chosen poet from each team wrote a waka for a given theme. The judge appointed a winner for each theme and gave points to the winning team. The team which received the largest sum was the winner. The first recorded Utaawase was held in around 885. At first, Utaawase was playful and mere entertainment, but as the poetic tradition deepened and grew, it turned into a serious aesthetic contest, with considerably more formality.
Waka has a long history, first recorded in the early 8th century in the Kojiki and Man'yōshū. Under influence from other genres such as kanshi, Chinese poetry, novels and stories such as Tale of Genji and even Western poetry, it has developed gradually, broadening its repertoire of expression and topics.
In literary critic Donald Keene's books, he uses four large categories:
- Early and Heian Literature (Kojiki to past The Tale of Genji to 1185)
- The Middle Ages ('chūsei' from 1185, including the Kamakura and Muromachi periods)
- Pre-Modern Era (1600–1867, then subdivided into 1600–1770 and 1770–1867)
- Modern Era (post 1867, divided into Meiji (1868–1912), Taishō (1912–1926) and Shōwa (from 1927)).
The earliest waka recorded in the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki, were not divided into subcategories of strict forms. Nor did the waka in the Man'yōshū have fixed forms, but poets in the late 7th century, in the time of Empress Saimei began to create chōka and tanka in the forms extant today.
The most ancient waka were recorded in the 20 volumes of the Man'yōshū, the oldest surviving waka anthology in Japan. The editor is anonymous, but it is believed that the final editor of the Man'yōshū was Ōtomo no Yakamochi. He was a waka poet who belonged to the youngest generation represented in the anthology; indeed, the last volume is dominated by his poems. The first waka of volume 1 was by Emperor Ōjin. Nukata no Ōkimi, Kakinomoto no Hitomaro, Yamabe no Akahito, Yamanoue no Okura, Ōtomo no Tabito and his son Yakamochi were the greatest poets in this anthology. The Man'yōshū recorded not only the works of those royal and noble men, but also works of women and commoners whose names were not recorded. The main topics of the Man'yōshū were love, sadness (especially on the occasion of someone's death), and other miscellaneous topics.
During the Nara period and the early Heian period, the court favored Chinese-style poetry (kanshi) and the waka art form stagnated. But in the 9th century, Japan stopped sending official envoys to Tang dynasty China. This severing of ties, combined with Japan's geographic isolation, essentially forced the court to cultivate native talent and look inward, synthesizing Chinese poetic styles and techniques with local traditions. The waka form again began flourishing, and in 905, Emperor Daigo ordered the creation of an anthology of waka. The famous waka poets of the day (including Ki no Tsurayuki) gathered the waka of ancient poets and their contemporaries and named the anthology "Kokin Wakashū", meaning Collection of Ancient and Modern Japanese Poems. This was the first waka anthology edited and issued under imperial auspices, and it commenced a long and distinguished tradition of imperial anthologies of waka that continued up to the Muromachi period.
Kamakura to Muromachi Periods
After the Heian period, during the Kamakura period and later, renga, a form of collaborative linked poetry, began to develop. In the late Heian period, three of the last great waka poets appeared: Fujiwara no Shunzei, his son Fujiwara no Teika, and Emperor Go-Toba. Emperor Go-Toba ordered the creation of a new anthology and joined in editing it. The anthology was named Shin Kokin Wakashū. He edited it again and again until he died in 1239. Teika made copies of ancient books and wrote on the theory of waka. His descendants, and indeed almost all subsequent poets, such as Shōtetsu, taught his methods and studied his poems. The courtly poetry scenes were historically dominated by a few noble clans and allies, each of which staked out a position.
By this period, a number of clans had fallen by the wayside, leaving the Reizei and the Nijo family; the former stood for "progressive" approaches, the varied use of the "ten styles" and novelty, while the latter conservatively hewed to already established norms and the "ushin" (deep feelings) style that dominated courtly poetry. Eventually, the Nijo family became defunct, leading to the ascendancy of the "liberal" Reizei family. Their innovative reign was soon deposed by the Asukai family, aided by the Ashikaga shogun, Ashikaga Yoshinori.
In the Muromachi period, renga began to be popular in the court and people around it. It spread to the priestly classes and thence to wealthy commoners. In much the same way as waka, renga anthologies were produced under the imperial aegis.
As momentum and popular interest shifted to the renga form, the tanka style was left to the Imperial court. Conservative tendencies exacerbated the loss of life and flexibility. A tradition named Kokin-denju, the heritage of Kokin Wakashū, was developed. It was a system on how to analyze the Kokin Wakashū and included the secret (or precisely lost) meaning of words. Studying waka degenerated into learning the many intricate rules, allusions, theories, and secrets, so as to produce tanka that would be accepted by the court.
There were comical waka already in the Kojiki and the Man'yōshū, but the noble style of waka in the court inhibited and scorned such aspects of waka. Renga was soon in the same position with many codes and strictures reflecting literary tradition. Haikai no renga (also called just haikai (playful renga)) and kyōka, comical waka, were a reaction to this seriousness. But in the Edo-period waka itself lost almost all of its flexibility and began to echo and repeat old poems and themes.
Tokugawa shogunate period
In the early Edo period, waka was not a fashionable genre. Newly created haikai no renga (of whose hokku, or opening verse, haiku was a late 19th-century revision) was the favored genre. This tendency was kept during this period, but in the late Edo period waka faced new trends from beyond the court. Motoori Norinaga, the great reviver of the traditional Japanese literature, attempted to revive waka as a way of providing "traditional feeling expressed in genuine Japanese way". He wrote waka, and waka became an important form to his followers, the Kokugaku scholars.
In Echigo province a Buddhist priest, Ryōkan, composed many waka in a naïve style intentionally avoiding complex rules and the traditional way of waka. He belonged to another great tradition of waka: waka for expressing religious feeling. His frank expression of his feeling found many admirers, then and now. In the cities, a comical, ironic and satiric form of waka emerged. It was called kyōka (狂歌), mad poem, and was loved by intellectual people in big cities like Edo and Osaka. It was not precisely a new form; satirical waka was a style known since ancient times. But it was in the Edo period that this aspect of waka developed and reached an artistic peak. Still, most waka poets kept to ancient tradition or made those reformation another stereotype, and waka was not a vibrant genre in general at the end of this period.
The modern revival of tanka began with several poets who began to publish literary magazines, gathering their friends and disciples as contributors. Yosano Tekkan and the poets that were associated with his Myōjō magazine were one example, but that magazine was fairly short-lived. A young high school student, Otori You, later known as Akiko Yosano, and Ishikawa Takuboku contributed to Myōjō. In 1980, the New York Times published a representative work:
- On the white sand
- Of the beach of a small isle
- In the Eastern Sea
- I, my face streaked with tears,
- Am playing with a crab.
- – Ishikawa Takuboku
Masaoka Shiki's poems and writing (as well as the work of his friends and disciples) have had a more lasting influence. The magazine Hototogisu, which he founded, still publishes. He is sometimes called the Father of Modern Tanka. He coined the term tanka as a replacement for waka.
In the Meiji period, Shiki claimed the situation with waka should be rectified, and waka should be modernized in the same way as other things in the country. He praised the style of Man'yōshū, calling it manly, as opposed to the style of Kokin Wakashū, which was the ideal type of waka during a thousand-year period, which he denigrated and called feminine. He praised Minamoto no Sanetomo, the third Shogun of the Kamakura Shogunate, who was a disciple of Fujiwara Teika and composed waka in a style much like that in the Man'yōshū.
Following Shiki's death, in the Taishō period Saito Mokichi and his friends formed a poetry circle, Araragi, that praised the Man'yōshū. Using their magazine they spread their influence throughout the country. Their modernization aside, in the court the old traditions still prevailed. The court continues to hold many utakai both officially and privately. The utakai that the emperor holds on the first of the year is called utakai-hajime and it is an important event for waka poets; the Emperor himself releases a single tanka for the public's perusal.
After World War II, waka began to be considered out-of-date, but since the late 1980s has revived under the example of contemporary poets, such as Tawara Machi. With her 1987 bestselling collection Salad Anniversary, the poet has been credited with revitalizing the tanka for modern Japanese audiences; the book's popularity soared to such a level that she became a national celebrity and was responsible for a surge of average citizens writing tanka.
Today there are many circles of tanka poets. Many newspapers have a weekly tanka column, and there are many professional and amateur tanka poets; Makoto Ooka's poetry column was published seven days a week for more than 20 years on the front page of Asahi Shimbun. More recently, as a parting gesture in his weekly email to the nation, outgoing Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi offered a tanka poem as thanks to his supporters.
Tanka written in English
The writing of tanka in English has been less famous than the writing of English-language haiku, but the earliest known English-language tanka collection was Ida Henrietta Bean's Tanka, in London, 1899. The first North American tanka collection was Jun Fujita's Tanka : Poems in Exile, in 1923. Tanka had been previously published in English by other authors, including Sadakichi Hartmann, who was better known as an art critic than poet.
Tanka publication in English was sporadic until after WWII when various Japanese North American tanka poets began publishing anthologies and collections in Japanese, English translation, and bi-lingual editions. These efforts apparently began immediately after the poets were released from internment camps in Canada and the United States, but the oldest known anthology is Tana and Nixon's Sounds from the Unknown, 1963, and the Kisaragi Poem Study Group's Maple : poetry by Japanese Canadians with English translation, 1975. Similar works continue to be published sporadically. Because both books were translated from the Japanese, neither was the first anthology of English-language tanka.
Tanka came to the attention of poets writing English-language haiku in the 1980s, and during the 1990s some of the better known names in tanka and haiku publication, including Jane Reichhold, Michael McClintock, Sanford Goldstein, Michael Dylan Welch, Janice Bostok, Pat Shelley, Father Neal Lawrence, and George Swede, published tanka collections and anthologies, or mixed collections containing tanka, haiku and other forms. Though some tanka had been published in haiku magazines, with the out-pouring of tanka in Mirrors and the beginning of the Tanka Splendor Awards and resulting yearly anthologies by AHA Books, the interest in English tanka began to blossom. A Gift of Tanka by Jane Reichhold and the publication of Sanford Goldstein's At the Hut of the Small Mind,and Father Lawrence's Shining Moments by AHA Books opened the way for more tanka books, as did Michael Dylan Welch's anthology Footsteps in the Fog and then Jane and Werner Reichhold's anthology Wind Five Folded. Kenneth Rexroth's The Love Poems of Marichiko was also published. Originally presented as a translation from the Japanese, they were later shown to have been a hoax – the poems were Rexroth's own work.
Unlike Japanese poets who often write primarily or only in one poetry form, many English-language tanka poets also write other short poetry forms including haiku, senryū, and cinquain. Most early English-language tanka appeared in journals that featured a variety of small poem forms (although the main American haiku magazines published only haiku and sometimes senryu). Lynx (co-editors Jane and Werner Reichhold) has since 1992 been an outlet for tanka and tanka sequences in print and now online. Michael Dylan Welch's Woodnotes journal also published tanka prominently, starting in 1990 and continuing through to its last issue in 1997, and also published winners of the annual tanka contest run by the Haiku Poets of Northern California. The HPNC tanka contest, along with the Tanka Splendor contest, was one of the earliest contests for English-language tanka and is still continuing.
Only recently have there been journals devoted exclusively to tanka, including American Tanka (1996) in the United States, edited by Laura Maffei and Tangled Hair in Britain, edited by John Barlow. The first English-language tanka journal, Five Lines Down, began in 1994, edited by Sanford Goldstein and Kenneth Tanemura, but lasted only a few issues. The Tanka Society of America was founded by Michael Dylan Welch in April 2000. This society now publishes the tanka journal Ribbons. Tanka Canada also publishes a journal titled Gusts, and the Anglo-Japanese Tanka Society (UK) hosts a web site with tanka and articles.
Tanka publication expanded through the 1990s with the establishment of additional journals, online forums, and contests such as the Tanka Splendor Awards, but broadened in the early 21st century with the establishment of several tanka organizations working in English, and a proliferation of international sources. Various special-interest tanka groups have also sprouted, such as "Mountain Home," named for the English translation of the title of the famous collection of Saigyo's waka, the Sanka Shu ("Mountain Home Collection"). The number of literary journals (print and web) that regularly publish tanka in English now numbers in excess of twenty. Noteworthy journals not mentioned elsewhere include Modern English Tanka, Eucalypt, The Tanka Journal, Atlas Poetica, and more.
Famous waka and tanka poets
- Kakinomoto no Hitomaro
- Yamabe no Akahito
- Ōtomo no Yakamochi
- Six best Waka poets
- Ki no Tsurayuki
- Murasaki Shikibu
- Fujiwara no Teika (1162–1241)
- Saigyō Hōshi (1118–1190)
- Minamoto no Sanetomo (1192-1219)
- Emperor Go-Toba (1180–1239)
- Kamo no Chomei (1155–1216)
- Motoori Norinaga (1730–1801)
- Ueda Akinari (1734–1809)
- Ryōkan (1758–1831)
- Princess Kazu (1846–1877)
- Masaoka Shiki (1867–1902)
- Yosano Akiko (1878–1942)
- Ishikawa Takuboku (1886–1912)
- Saitō Mokichi (1882–1953)
- Itō Sachio (1864–1913)
- Kitahara Hakushu (1885–1942)
- Nagatsuka Takashi (1879–1915)
- Okamoto Kanoko (1889–1939)
- Wakayama Bokusui (1885–1928)
- Orikuchi Shinobu (1887–1953) under the pseudonym Shaku Choku
- Terayama Shuji (1935–1983)
- Tawara Machi (born 1962)
- Yukio Mishima (1925–1970)
- Baba Akiko
- Nakajo Fumiko
- Saito Fumi
Famous waka collections
- Japanese language
- Japanese phonology
- List of Japanese language poets
- List of kigo
- List of National Treasures of Japan (writings)
- Brower, Robert H., and Earl Miner, Japanese Court Poetry, Stanford University Press, 1961. ISBN 0-8047-1524-6 pbk
- 527 pp., a standard academic study.
- Carter, Steven D., editor and translator, Traditional Japanese Poetry: An Anthology. Stanford University Press, 1991
- Waka, tanka, renga, haiku and senryū with translations and annotations
- Carter, Steven D., editor and translator, Waiting for the Wind: Thirty-Six Poets of Japan's Late Medieval Age, Columbia University Press, 1989
- Cranston, Edwin, editor and translator, A Waka Anthology, Volume One: The Gem-Glistening Cup, Stanford University Press, 1993. ISBN 0-8047-1922-5 cloth ISBN 0-8047-3157-8 pbk
- 988 pp. includes almost all waka from the Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters completed 712) through the Man'yōshū (Collection for Ten Thousand Generations c.759) and also includes the Buddha's Footstone Poems (21 Bussokuseki poems carved in stone at the Yakushi-ji temple in Nara, c. 753)
- Cranston, Edwin, editor and translator, A Waka Anthology, Volume Two: Grasses of Remembrance, Stanford University Press, 2006. ISBN 0-8047-4825-X cloth
- Keene, Donald, compiled and edited, Anthology of Japanese Literature from the Earliest Era to the Mid-Nineteenth Century, Grove Press, 1955
- McCullough, Helen Craig, Brocade by Night: 'Kokin Wakashū' and the Court Style in Japanese Classical Poetry, Stanford University Press, 1985
- McCullough, Helen Craig, Kokin Wakashū: The First Imperial Anthology of Japanese Poetry, with 'Tosa Nikki' and 'Shinsen Waka', Stanford University Press 1985
- Miner, Earl, An Introduction to Japanese Court Poetry, Stanford University Press, 1968.
- Based on Brower and Miner
- Philippi, Donald, translator, This Wine of Peace, the Wine of Laughter: A Complete Anthology of Japan's Earliest Songs, New York, Grossman, 1968
- Rodd, Laurel Rasplica, and Mary Catherine Henkenius, translated and annotated, Kokinshu: A Collection of Poems Ancient and Modern. Cheng & Tsui Company, 1996
- Sato, Hiroaki, and Burton Watson, editors and translators, From the Country of Eight Islands: An Anthology of Japanese Poetry, multiple editions available
- Reichhold, Jane, and Kawamura, Hatsue. Trans. A String of Flowers. . . Untied: Love Poems from the Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu. Berkeley, CA: Stonebridge Press. 2002
Modern tanka anthologies
- Nakano, Jiro, Outcry from the Inferno: Atomic Bomb Tanka Anthology, Honolulu, Hawaii, Bamboo Ridge Press 1995 ISBN 0-910043-38-8 [104 pp. 103 tanka by 103 poets]
- Shiffert, Edith, and Yuki Sawa, editors and translators, Anthology of Modern Japanese Poetry, Rutland, Vermont, Tuttle, 1972
- Ueda, Makoto, Modern Japanese Tanka: An Anthology, NY: Columbia University Press, 1996 ISBN 0-231-10432-4 cloth ISBN 978-0-231-10433-3 pbk [257 pp. 400 tanka by 20 poets]
Modern tanka translations
- Baba, Akiko. Heavenly Maiden Tanka. Trans. Hatsue Kawamura and Jane Reichhold. Gualala CA:AHA Books, 1999
- Nakajo, Fumiko. Breasts of Snow. Trans. Hatsue Kawamura and Jane Reichhold. Tokyo:The Japan Times Press, 2004
- Saito, Fumi, White Letter Poems. Trans. Hatsue Kawamura and Jane Reichhold. Gualala CA: AHA Books, 1998
Tanka written in English
- Goldstein, Sanford. At the Hut of the Small Mind. Gualala, California: AHA Books, 1992
- Goldstein, Sanford. Four Decades on my Tanka Road. Baltimore, MD: Modern English Tanka Press, 2007
- Conforti, Gerard John. Now That the Night Ends. Gualala, California: AHA Books and Chant Press, 1996
- Lawrence, Neal Henry. Rushing Amid Tears. Tokyo, Japan: Eichosha Shinsha Co. Ltd.
- Lawrence, Neal Henry. Shining Moments. Gualala, California: AHA Books, 1993
- Reichhold, Jane, ed. Tanka Splendor. Gualala, California: AHA Books, 1990–2007
- Reichhold, Werner Reichhold. Tidalwave. Gualala, California: AHA Books, 1989
- Reichhold, Jane. A Gift of Tanka. Gualala, California: AHA Books, 1990
- Reichhold Werner. Bridge of Voices. Gualala, California: AHA Books, 1990
- Reichhold, Jane, and Werner Reichhold. Oracle. Gualala, California: AHA Books, 1993. The first linked tanka sequence in English
- Reichhold, Jane, and Werner Reichhold, eds. Wind Five Folded: An Anthology of English-Language Tanka. Gualala, California: AHA Books, 1994
- Reichhold, Jane. Bowls I Buy. Gualala, California: AHA Books, 1996
- Reichhold, Jane, and Werner Reichhold, eds. In the Presence. Gualala, California: AHA Books, 1998
- Reichhold, Jane. Her Alone. Gualala, California: AHA Online Books, 2002. Tanka composed with prose
- Garrison, Denis, and Michael McClintock, eds. The Five-Hole Flute: Modern English Tanka in Sequences and Sets. Baltimore, Maryland: Modern English Tanka Press, 2006. ISBN 0-615-13794-6
- Garrison, Denis, and Michael McClintock, eds. Landfall : Poetry of Place in Modern English Tanka. Baltimore, Maryland: Modern English Tanka Press, 2007 ISBN 978-0-615-16264-5
- Kei, M., ed. Fire Pearls : Short Masterpieces of the Human Heart. Perryville, MD: M. Kei, Publisher, 2006 ISBN 978-1-4303-0999-4
- McClintock, Michael, Pamela Miller Ness and Jim Kacian, eds., The Tanka Anthology: 800 of the Best Tanka in English by 68 of Its Finest Practitioners, Winchester, VA, Red Moon Press 2003 ISBN 1-893959-40-6
- St. Maur, Gerald, ed. Countless Leaves. Edmonton, Alberta: Inkling Press and Magpie Productions, 2001
- Tasker, Brian, ed. In the Ship's Wake: An Anthology of Tanka. North Shields, England: Iron Press, 2001
- Ward, Linda Jeannette, ed. Full Moon Tide: The Best of Tanka Splendor 1990–1999. Coinjock, North Carolina: Clinging Vine Press, 2000
- Ward, Linda Jeannette. A Frayed Red Thread. Coinjock, North Carolina: Clinging Vine Press, 2000
- Welch, Michael Dylan, ed., Footsteps in the Fog, Foster City, CA USA, Press Here, 1994 ISBN 1-878798-12-X [the first anthology of English-language tanka 48 pp. 115 tanka by 7 poets]
- Zheng, Ron L., Leaving My Found Eden, Seattle, WA, Literary Road Press, 2008, ISBN 1-934037-38-6
- Zheng, Ron L., Seven 1/2 and One, Seattle, WA, Literary Road Press, 2008, ISBN 1-934037-38-6
- Zheng, Ron L., Leaving My Found Eden: A Poetography Collection, Seattle, WA, Literary Road Press, January 2009, ISBN 978-1-934037-47-8
Tanka written in English online
- Conforti, Gerard John, For My Brother Victor & Elsa His Wife
- Conforti, Gerard John. Now that the Night Ends
- Conforti, Gerard John. Spirit of the Wind
- Helsem, Michael. 404; & In the Time of the Fall of the Towers
- Reichhold, Werner. Cybertry Part II A
- Reichhold, Werner. Cyberpoetry
- Zheng, Ron L. "Poetography"
Tanka, kyōka, and gogyōka
- Kei, M., ed. Catzilla!: Tanka, Kyoka, and Gogyohka About Cats, edited by M. Kei, 2010. ISBN 978-0-557-53612-2
- ^ Ueda, Makoto. Modern Japanese Tanka. NY: Columbia University Press, 1996. ISBN 978-0-231-10433-3 (p. 1).
- ^ a b Wright, Harold. Songs of Mountains and Coves: Japanese Ancient Pre-haiku Poetry in Simply Haiku, Spring 2006
- ^ An Interview With J. Thomas Rimer in Simply Haiku, Spring 2006
- ^ http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/309916/Kakinomoto-Hitomaro?anchor=ref50358
- ^ Sato, Hiroaki and Watson, Burton. From the Country of Eight Islands: An Anthology of Japanese Poetry. Columbia University Press, ISBN 0231163954 p.619
- ^ English translation by Edwin A. Cranston, from A Waka Anthology: Volume One: The Gem-Glistening Cup, Stanford University Press © 1993
- ^ Cranston, Edwin A.. A Waka anthology. Volume two: Grasses of Remembrance. Stanford University Press. p. 1075. ISBN 0-8047-4825-x. http://books.google.com/books?id=3RI7XH8bdMoC&pg=PA1075&dq=kutsukaburi#v=onepage&q=kutsukaburi&f=false.
- ^ Rodd, Laurel Rasplica; Mary, Catherine Henkenius (1996). Kokinshu: A Collection of Poems Ancient and Modern. Cheng & Tsui Company. p. 182. ISBN 0-88727-249-5. http://books.google.com/books?id=Lp_M3Qq88PkC&pg=PA182&dq=kutsukanmuri#v=onepage&q=kutsukanmuri&f=false.
- ^ Stokes, Henry Scott. "In Japan, Almost Everyone Seems Well Versed; Once 'Infused With Melancholy'," New York Times. January 20, 1980.
- ^ Honan, William H. "Why Millions in Japan Read All About Poetry," New York Times. March 6, 2000.
- ^ http://www.ahapoetry.com
- Ogura Hyakunin Isshu – 100 Poems by 100 Poets at University of Virginia Library Japanese Text Initiative
- 2001 Waka for Japan 2001 translated by T. E. McAuley of the School of East Asian Studies at the University of Sheffield.
- American Tanka magazine
- Tanka Society of America
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