Limestone Tanka Poets, 22nd May, 2011 meeting

The fact that there was little business to discuss other than the positive advantages of keeping an Awards and Publication book for Limestone Tanka Poets next meeting onwards (contents to be published in ACT Writers etc. as another means of ‘outing’ tanka in Canberra), June Foster, Kate King, John Van De Graaff, Gerry Jacobson, Michael Thorley and I, did not mind at all. We were about to embark on a Japanese way of responding to tanka in a workshop by Amelia Fielden, who assured of a method that was both gentle and informative.

Most of us managed to pen tanka on ‘roads’ and ‘music’, the subjects chosen by Amelia, and sent to her beforehand. Copies (printed anonymously) were ready on the table for each poet as they arrived to read before the workshop commenced in earnest. Each person was allotted two poems on which to start the discussion before opening it out to the group. It was agreed that the fact that more than one poet led the discussion on the tanka they were allotted, and therefore had to think deeper about what they might say, as well as the fact that no-one knew to whom each tanka belonged, presented us with multiple ways of viewing each one and in the process, broadened the group’s knowledge. Did we own up to whom wrote what in the end? Some of us did.

Although Limestone Tanka Poets will experience as many approaches to feedback on tanka as possible in this group and discover which of these serve them, this Japanese approach will be repeated at the next LTPs meeting, 26th June, 2011 so that anyone who missed out, can also enjoy the experience for themself. The subjects to write about for this meeting are ‘winter’ and ‘water’ and need to reach Amelia, several days before the workshop.

Kathy Kituai

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