Monday, March 23, 2009

Take Five : Best Contemporary Tanka blurbs

The following blurbs have been provided for Take Five : Best Contemporary Tanka. Step by step, the project comes to fruition.

"Powerful short stories written in five lines — that's what Take Five is all about.  This anthology is not just your tanka wallpaper variety; nearly every piece is a jumpstart for the heart that tells the truth about that four-letter word called "Life."  M.Kei and his team of editors are to be commended — when I was done reading Take Five, for a moment, I didn't know if I was a woman, a monk or a pelican." — Alexis Rotella, editor of Prune Juice : A Journal of Senryu and Kyoka

"Take Five is like Dave Brubeck's famous long jazz piece of the same name: both simple and complex, with varied rhythms that can make fingers snap and hips sway. Beguiling for the beginner and expert alike." — George Swede, editor of Frogpond : The Journal of the Haiku Society of America

"It seems that with every turn – whether it be picking up the latest tanka journal, navigating your way to tanka sites across the web or checking out a new entry from one of the ever-growing number of tanka bloggers – that these small but perfectly formed poems continue to offer us some of the most breathtaking moments in contemporary poetry. It’s nothing short of spellbinding to behold a new tanka, its five-lines engraved in the granite of an ancient form of literature but with all the freshness of a green leaf showing. Today, writers are leaving their tanka ajar – in these brief moments of poetry, anything is possible and everything is welcome – and, as a result, tanka is able to thrive across the globe. As writers of tanka embrace the modern world, the modern world embraces tanka.

"Take Five: Best Contemporary Tanka succeeds in providing a comprehensive illustration of the state of modern tanka. Here we have a veritable feast of the finest individual tanka, tanka sequences and tanka prose published over the last year, handpicked from every nook and cranny by an editorial board that consists of some of the most highly respected figures in the field. Take Five is, at once, a satisfying digest of quality tanka and an indispensable tanka handbook for new and experienced writers of the form. With an extensive and absorbing introduction from the chief editor of the anthology, M. Kei, the book is not only a literary treat but an essential addition to the poetry shelf of reader and writer alike." -- Liam Wilkinson, Editor, 3 Lights Gallery

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Take Five : Best Contemporary Tanka goes to press

Take Five : Best Contemporary Tanka has finished the editorial process and been turned into the publisher. It will be set up, a galleyproof will come to me, and barring any unpleasant surprises, will go on sale to the public in the middle to end of April in honor of National Poetry Month. I am please to thank Sanford Goldstein, Pamela A. Babusci, Bob Lucky, Patricia Prime, and Kala Ramesh for their work as editors, and I also which to acknowledge the assistance of Alexis Rotella and Liam Wilkinson. I especially wish to thank Alexis for the title, Take Five, .

It's been fifteen months of work since the project was first launched in January of last year and nursed through to fruition. The editorial team has worked hard and I am gratified to have such a diverse and intelligent lot of colleagues supporting the project. Their assistance has made a gargantuan task of this sort feasible, even if we were drowning in poetry at some points. We read over fourteen thousand poems, of which 321 poems, plus several sequences and tanka prose pieces by 138 authors made it into the anthology. I penned an introduction that covers the history of tanka in brief, and discusses the anthology in detail. Cover art is by Pamela A. Babusci. It is being published by Modern English Tanka Press of Baltimore, Maryland, thanks to the support of Denis M. Garrison.