When MET Press of Baltimore, Maryland, published Landfall : Poetry of Place in Modern English Tanka (2007), it received a landslide of submissions. Thousands of poems were submitted, making it the most sought after tanka venue in the English language. It was only logical to create a journal to provide an ongoing forum for the publication, appreciation, and advancement of tanka poetry of place. Atlas Poetica was born. Originally published by MET Press, in 2010 it transferred to Keibooks, M. Kei’s own small press.
Atlas Poetica quickly established itself as one of the distinctive voices in tanka literature. The large format was deliberately designed to accommodate lengthy sequences, shaped tanka, tanka prose, articles, and other items too bulky for the smaller journals. In addition, ATPO reached out to tanka communities around the world, providing a venue to publish tanka in languages other than English, as well as providing lists of resources, announcements, and other information to serve the world tanka community.
In 2014, ATPO gained a sister publication, the experimental Bright Stars, An Organic Tanka Anthology. Embracing the aesthetic of ‘akarui’ and adopting an organic approach to publish as issues filled, Bright Stars ran for one year and published seven volumes. Lessons learned were then applied to ATPO starting in 2015.
Starting with issue No. 20, ATPO adopted the subtitle ‘A Journal of World Tanka’ to reflect its breadth and intention. It also explicitly accepts kyoka, gogyoshi, sedoka, ryuka, and zuihitsu as it continues to expand the possibilities of this most fertile of poetries. ATPO publishes tanka literature from around the world, along with informative articles, insightful book reviews, and announcements. ATPO is a place where poets writing in any language can find a home for avant-garde or traditional tanka poetry that reflects the experience-as-it-is-lived by poets from diverse backgrounds.
Although it is now open to any topic, ATPO continues to have a special interest in tanka poetry of place that embodies the community and environment, both human and natural, through which the poet travels. Groups and places are profoundly important, forming the affective and effective boundaries of the poet’s psyche. Whether contemplating subjects as diverse as an old chest of drawers, a Romanian seashore, or the brilliant lights of a skyscraper, tanka poets find connection, meaning, and significance in the previously unremarked proximities of our lives.
ATPO’s covers provide a graphic depiction of our editorial view: the satellite photos were culled by scientists from their more prosaic applications. Although their purpose was pragmatic and scientific, they could not help being moved by beauty. Thus the “Earth As Art” and “Visible Earth” collections were born to share dramatic, aesthetically satisfying satellite photographs free of charge to the general public.
Since 2017, ATPO is published four times a year on an organic schedule as the issues fill. It features approximately 1000 poems per issue, along with announcements, resources, articles, and other materials. It is an 8.5′ x 11″ journal with a full-color cover.
P.O. Box 346
Perryville, MD 21903
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