Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Prize Winning Tanka

Excerpt from 2014 Diogen Tanka Winners.rtf by M.Kei, 25th Feb 2014, USA/SAD.

The poems I selected offered fresh images, or new ways of writing about established ideas. (Is it possible to say anything new about love?) The winners all contain what in English we call ‘multivalence’ or ‘dreaming room.’ In other words, a deliberate ambiguity that invites the reader to contemplate the poem and summon up multiple thoughts that reflect their own experience. The reader expands the meaning like ripples expanding outward from the pebble of the poem.

3rd Place Ramesh Anand, Indija / India

snow on snow
to a colleague's remark
on my shirt
should i even tell him about me
sharing with my father?

The ‘snow on snow’ is a metaphor for how the poet feels when a coworker comments on the imperfection of his shirt. We know his shirt is marred because he wouldn’t feel sensitive about it and his colleague wouldn’t have noticed if all were well.
Since the son has a job, perhaps his unemployed father has moved in with him. That he must lend his father a shirt suitable for work suggests that his father is job-hunting, but something very serious must have happened for him to be without suitable clothes of his own. That the poet hesitates to tell his coworker suggests that his father has suffered a blamable misfortune; that is to say, that the colleague may think that his father (and perhaps the poet himself), have done something to deserve the disaster.

In this poem we see the narrator confronting a painful and very real moment in his life. Tanka is best when it comes to grips with the world as it is, rather than putting on rose-colored glasses to view the world through a haze of softening romanticism.

1 comment:

friv 4 said...

What you choose is suitability. I noticed that.