Saturday, March 8, 2014

Review of "Tanka" by Sadakichi Hartmann

"Tanka" by Sadakichi Hartmann was offered by Poets.org's Poem-A-Day on March 8, 2014.  A link to the poem may be found here:  http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/23912?utm_source=PAD%3A+Tanka+by+Sadakichi+Hartmann&utm_campaign=poemaday_030814&utm_medium=email.

Sadakichi Hartmann (1867 - 1944) (pictured) was born in Japan to a German father and a Japanese mother.  He became an American citizen in 1894 and composed some of the first short Japanese form poems in English.  Additional biographical information may be found here:  http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/g_l/hartmann/life.htm.

"Tanka" is presented as six numbered tanka.  A note published with the poem defined the tanka form as having a total of thirty-one syllables in the familiar 5-7-5-7-7 arrangement.  Interestingly, Hartmann does not strictly follow his own rules--some lines have more than the required number of syllables.  Also, there is a rhyme scheme--something not usually present in tanka, but falling pleasantly on the ear all the same.

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