Monday, August 3, 2015

First place, Annual Tanka Contest 2015

     Before I start updating this blog, let me share this advance birthday gift. :-)

     Thank you so much to Amanda D'Costa of Mandy's Pages and to the two distinguished judges, Claire Everett and David Terelinck.

Judging Report by Claire Everett and David Terelinck
Thank you to Amanda D’Costa for asking us to judge the 2015 Annual Tanka Contest for Mandy’s Pages. We are honoured to have been entrusted with this role of reading and selecting winners and short-listed entrants from a field of 108 tanka. 
When submitting tanka to competitions it is always important for entrants to have a solid grasp of what a tanka is. Just because a short poem has five lines does not automatically make it a tanka. This genre has a rich background that has defined what tanka is today. Unfortunately many of the submissions to this contest fell short of being tanka in a number of criteria. Equally, some strong tanka with vivid imagery might have been placed in this competition were it not for a misplaced word or poorly thought-out line breaks. 
As judges we were always looking for poetry within the poem. This means the cadence and rhythm of the writing, lyrical word usage, appropriate imagery, fresh metaphors and a new way of expressing emotion. A key criteria for these judges has always been show, don’t tell. We looked for tanka that started and finished strongly and did not trail away in the last lines. Too many tanka fell victim of cliché, or started beautifully, only to fall flat with an unimaginative image, emotion or observation as juxtaposition. Tanka that was topical, relevant and contemporary, yet showed respect to centuries of history that have preceded us, also rated highly in our deliberations. 
First place went to an outstanding tanka that was lyrical and suggestive. There was a true understanding of the poetic use of language to create an image and understated emotive layer No overt feeling is mentioned and it is left to the reader to define the effect of these words as they journey with this tanka.
1st place
his stand
on chemotherapy . . .
a bluebird’s cry
nestles in the palm
of sunrise 
The tanka employs usual metaphor and imagery in the last three lines. There is much room for interpretation as to whether this belief in cytotoxic therapy is supported or denied. Is this the bluebird of happiness and hope . . . or is this the blueness we associate with sadness and pending loss? The reader has plenty of space to ruminate on the possible interpretations of this tanka. Are we to think that the subject of the poem has changed his mind, or does the voice of the poem wish, or hope, that he will? Subtle allusions to the medical setting add strength to this tanka when one considers the alternative meaning of ‘stand’; the cry of the ‘bird in the hand’ is also reminiscent of the motto and calls to mind the medication that might be sustaining life, and hope. The image “nestling in the palm of sunrise” is striking and it is possible the poet meant that the outcome of this choice literally rests in the hands of god? 
     To read more, here's the link.

No comments:

Post a Comment