2009 Events‎ > ‎

Tanka Symposium, May 9, 2009—FREE

Join us for an engaging and informative afternoon focusing on tanka poetry—haiku’s much older poetic cousin. All FREE, sponsored by Haiku Northwest. Our special guest will be widely respected tanka poet and translator Amelia Fielden, visiting from Australia. She and Michael Dylan Welch (see bios below) will present writing and discussion workshops and other brief presentations on the art and craft of tanka poetry. You’ll gain a deeper appreciation for both the reading and writing of tanka poetry. Our symposium includes handouts, tanka books and journals for display and sale, writing and critique sessions, and more! Don’t miss out.


Sunday, May 9, 2009, from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m.

Mercer Island Library, Mercer Island, Washington

4400 88th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040


Registration is not required, but if you plan to attend, please let us know by e-mailing Michael Dylan Welch at WelchM@aol.com (this will help us know how many copies to make of our handouts).


Tanka Symposium Schedule


12:00 noon     Welcome and Introductions

12:15 p.m.     “The Seed of the Human Heart: An Overview of Tanka Poetry,” by Michael Dylan Welch (with handout)

12:45 p.m.     “Japanese and English-Language Tanka,” by Amelia Fielden (with handout)

1:15 p.m.       Break (after a brief introduction to books and journals on display)

1:30 p.m.       Tanka Writing Exercise, led by Amelia, with themes provided

2:00 p.m.       Discussion/Critique of Poems (not anonymous; moderated by Michael and Amelia)

3:00 p.m.       Break

3:15 p.m.       Anonymous Tanka Workshop (please bring previously written tanka; moderated by Michael and Amelia)

4:15 p.m.       Question and Answer Session, including Tanka Publications Discussion

4:45 p.m.       Closing Comments / Cleanup

5:00 p.m.       End (dinner at a nearby restaurant together, for those who are interested)

We look forward to seeing you at this event, open to anyone!

About the Presenters


Amelia Fielden, an Australian, is a professional translator, and an enthusiastic writer of tanka in English. Retired in 2003 from the position of senior Japanese translator for the Australian government, Amelia now works freelance, specializing mainly in the tanka of contemporary women poets. She has translated or cotranslated fourteen collections of modern Japanese tanka. Her first book with Kozue Uzawa, Ferris Wheel: 101 Modern and Contemporary Japanese Tanka (Cheng & Tsui), was awarded the 2007 Donald Keene Prize for Translation of Japanese Literature by Columbia University. In 2008, Amelia published a second cotranslation with Kozue Uzawa, Kaleidoscope (Hokuseido), an anthology by controversial poet and playwright Terayama Shuji. She also published two other translations in 2008: Mariko Kitakubo’s Cicada Forest and Noriko Tanaka’s Doorway to the Sky. In 2009, Amelia will publish two additional tanka collections. She has also published five books of her own English-language tanka, the most recent being Baubles, Bangles & Beads (Ginninderra Press). Her latest venture is In Two Minds (Modern English Tanka Press), a book of responsive tanka written with fellow Australian poet, Kathy Kituai.


Michael Dylan Welch founded the Tanka Society of America (TSA) in 2000, and served as the group’s president for five years. In 1994, he edited and published what was probably the first anthology of English-language tanka, titled Footsteps in the Fog. He has judged and placed in numerous tanka contests, codirected the 2003 TSA Tanka Day in New York City, and edited the first TSA members’ anthology, Castles in the Sand, in 2003. His tanka have appearedin many journals, including Five Lines Down, Poetry Kanto, Woodnotes, Ribbons, TSA Newsletter, Gusts, Modern English Tanka, Hummingbird, Tangled Hair, and Red Lights (where he has also been featured poet). His work also appears in The Tanka Anthology (Red Moon Press, 1999), Fire Pearls (2006), Wind Five Folded (AHA Books, 1994), and other anthologies. He has just published a cotranslation with Emiko Miyashita of the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu, 100 Poets: Passions of the Imperial Court (PIE Books, 2008). Michael is currently coordinator of the Haiku Northwest group.