Press Release : ‘Turn the Other Cheek: Nonviolent Resistance and Peaceful Protest Tanka’ Special Feature

November 9, 2019

Special Feature ‘Turn the Other Cheek: Nonviolent Resistance and Peaceful Protest Tanka’ Edited by Autumn Noelle Hall, Published by Keibooks

9 November 2019 — Perryville, Maryland, USA 

Where does awareness begin? What frees us from our cocoon of comfort and complacency? Large-scale movements? Mass media feeds? Can these persuade us to get up off the couch? Or is the catalyst more visceral — a twisting intuition in the gut that tells us something is not right? Or more personal — an innocent victim known to us, an illness or injury sustained? Or might awareness arise from an underlying sense of kinship — the dissolution of another’s otherness, such that his or her suffering suddenly becomes our own? It seems howsoever we open the door and choose to step through, awareness instantly hands us a To Do list — a burden of obligation and responsibility.

The tanka curated in this Peaceful Protest Special demonstrate not only the contributing poets’ heightened awareness, but their willingness to accept that burden and carry it through to action. There is a boundless energy crackling within these poems that embodies the bright, illuminated, awake aesthetic the Japanese call akarui. Even the quietest of these tanka demands we take notice. Each resounds simultaneously with a bold YES — yes, I will open my eyes, yes I will stand up, yes I will act; and a bold NO — no I will not tolerate this, no it is not okay, no I will not give up or give in. There is a flamboyance to these poems, a courage and a grief. There is sacrifice and resilience and persistence. There is a beautiful readiness to face ugliness head-on — to make trouble, to make right, to make due, to make peace. There is a laudable humanity and integrity — a brave inclination to speak truth. Most importantly, there is an open invitation to unite and become part of a growing solidarity based around an insistence that we can — and must — do better.

Sample Poems

does not own my body . . . 
arm in arm
rows of young women wearing
red cloaks and white bonnets

Chen-ou Liu

my parents
didn’t quite see it
like that . . . 
a badge of honor
going to jail

Kenneth Slaughter

all the children
holding pinwheels . . . 
harnessing the power
in their hands

Don Miller


Kath Abela Wilson, Susan Weaver, Chen-ou Liu, Barbara A. Taylor, Kenneth Slaughter, Michael Ketchek, Pamela A. Babusci, Linda Jeannette Ward, Ella Wagermakers, Tim Gardiner, Gerry Jacobson, Marilyn Shoemaker Hazelton, Marcyn Del Clements, Tish Davis, Sandra Renew, Pat Geyer, Susan Burch, Ignatius Fay, Patricia Kennelly, Michael H. Lester, Matthew Carreti, David Rice, Charles Harmon, Tracy Davison, Don Miller

Visit to read ‘Turn the Other Cheek’ for free. 

About Special Features:

Keibooks is a small press specializing in tanka poetry. The ‘Special Features’ are open to Guest Editors to address a variety of topics in tanka literature today. Anyone interested in being a Guest Editor for a Special Feature at the Keibooks website will find guidelines at the bottom of the Special Features home page or here

Anyone interested in being a Guest Editor should read the Special Features to familiarize themselves with the scope and format of the project. Keibooks’s Special Features are published on an irregular schedule.

About Keibooks:

Keibooks is a small press located in Perryville, Maryland, USA, founded by poet and tall ship sailor, M. Kei. Keibooks publishes select projects reflecting his interest in tanka poetry and the sea. Using print-on-demand technology, Keibooks is able to publish high-quality literature in attractive, affordable editions. Keibooks is home to Atlas Poetica : A Journal of World Tanka, and published Stacking Stones, An Anthology of Short Tanka Sequences in 2018.

M. Kei, publisher and editor
P O Box 346
Perryville, MD, USA 21903
Email: Keibooks (at) gmail (dot) com