Monday, August 8, 2016

Results of the Annual Tanka Contest 2016 at Mandy's Pages

     My first time as a judge for a contest was a little stressful and frightening, but I stepped up to the plate and made it a very enjoyable experience. I bravely picked the winners and try not to worry about who I would be disgruntling. Just as the saying goes, "You can't please everybody."
     Here are my top selections and my comments:
each moment
here on earth is numbered . . .
so why not
fly too close to the moon,
and hang our hats on stars?
Debbie Strange
Winnipeg, Canada 
I chose this as the winner because I wanted to base my decision on originality, freshness, and  authenticity. The poet’s writing style is utterly captivating! The serious tone of the first two lines pivots in the phrase, “so why not.” The mood that follows is somewhat childlike, evoking a sense of adventure and imagination. Isn’t that how we should enjoy life? We should take risks, dream big, have fun! With the use of the s/l/s/l/l form, this tanka gives you a heartwarming ending with some dreaming space.
the verdant hills
of his childhood
he scratches
his growing
bald spot
Billy Antonio
Laoac, Philippines
The poet’s perfect choice of metaphor proves that humor can be used effectively in tanka. The verdant hills implies lushness which is in contrast to his growing bald spot. To emphasize the decreasing loss of hair, words are placed in descending order. A hint of annoyance about the poet’s aging is implied with the word “scratch”, but using humor in this tanka shows us his/her acceptance of this human condition. I enjoyed the surprise ending. Brilliant tanka!
after tea
I linger in the garden
this summer day
held tight by sunlight
and the scent of honeysuckle
Barbara Kaufmann
This breathtaking tanka has a lasting effect on me because of the lovely choice of words. The “s” sounds in “summer,” “sunlight,” “scent of honeysuckle” has a soft, soothing effect. It makes me “linger” longer to feel the “sunlight” and smell the “scent of honeysuckle.” The use of the phrase “held tight” elevates the tanka. For a moment, I feel like I am entranced, absorbed in the present, and in one with nature. I also wonder what the poet is thinking as he/she lingers in the garden. A well-crafted tanka that naturally falls into the s/l/s/l/l structure.
     Congratulations to all the winners! To read the full post at Mandy's Pages, please click here.

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