Various Projects

365 Tanka (Waka)

Note: This project was completed in November of 2013. To see commentary about the project, visit the post "Casual Brevities"which outlines results of the cyclical writing session.

For the unfolding season, I have begun the process of generating daily tanka (waka), picking up from the satisfaction of the 365 Daily Haiku exercise

During the tanka-project however, a stumbling period occurred at one point: a number of days were lost in the beginning— the habitual rhythm which appears for a haiku did not exist as readily for a tanka. My style halted in its pace for some reason; the phrasings could not shift to a new pattern immediately— but more on that subject in a few days. A short essay can be generated from that experience. 

After reaching my yearly quota for haiku last season, important points come to mind. Foremost, I did not expect the results of the project to be as favorable as they developed. Only once or twice did I feel the writing to exist as a chore, an expectation— more often than not, the scheduled poems became as an instinctual recording of the day’s events, or as a casual creative passing-thought. The phrasings seemed almost instinctual: a five second scene from general experience easily translated into something larger, through memory and emphasis of personality. An empty glass on a counter-top motions into a heavy metaphor without much effort— any mundane act for that matter can become an aspect of poetic thought. It remains up to the writer to offer a sense of emphasis for an everyday act, for the casual experience of living. Turning the last page of a book, combing out your hair, or listening to your partner snore beside you, all of these add up to explain our humanity. And can become a portion of the core of identity.

Over the next series of weeks, months, I’ll post the results, exploring the various creative outbursts as that develop. Already I plan to begin to use expressionistic, non-traditional approaches with these verses. Ideally I want a less rigid control to be displayed in the new series of poems. My reading during this summer ventured into more avant-garde poetry, into realms of emotive, reactionary discourse rather than logical, traditional rhetoric. What resulted, a slight new emphasis appearing in my own words, even on a casual basis. 
Two Quick Examples from 2011

Left unattended, 
the crack in the window grows, 
splits out a new path, 
creates a hole large enough 
for the full moon to slip through— 


The bones of the house 
settle down in the middle 
of this persistent 
drought— the lingering dry winds 
callout ghosts from all corners.

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