Keibooks is dedicated to providing resources for readers and writers of tanka and related poetry. We publish non-fiction articles, book reviews, and announcements pertaining to tanka literature in the pages of Atlas Poetica (see guidelines for details on how to submit), and we reprint articles from our own publications, tanka research by M. Kei, and other articles of value to the tanka community. We are especially pleased to host a list of international resources to support tanka poets and readers around the world, plus important reference items, such as M. Kei’s Bibliography of Tanka that contains over 1400 entries, the most comprehensive bibliography of tanka in English.

We are also pleased to host Tomoe Tana’s master thesis documenting her research into the Japanese American and Japanese Canadian tanka poets, organizations, and publications of the 20th century. Most of her information is unknown and unavailable outside of her thesis. It exists in the real world as only one (one!) physical copy of her thesis. Should anything happen to it, the knowledge she compiled about the history of tanka in North and South America would have perished. We are grateful for her son Shibun Tana’s permission to publish online.

Articles hosted here address novice, intermediate, and advanced readers and writers of tanka literature. For readers new to tanka, we recommend starting with the Introduction to Take Five : Best Contemporary Tanka, Vol. 1, and also the Preface to Fire Pearls 2. For poets new to writing tanka, we recommend ‘A Brief Statement on Tanka Definition’. Many back issues of Atlas Poetica contain informational articles written about many different aspects of tanka literature and they are available to read for free online.

All articles are available for reprint, and some are available in other languages. Please see our Educational Use Policy to use any of our items in educational programs.

Tanka History

A History of Tanka in English Pt I : The North American Foundation, 1899 – 1985 by M. Kei
The History of Japanese Tanka Poetry in America : Master’s Thesis by Tomoe Tana. San Jose, California: San Jose State University, 1985. Published with the permission of Shibun Tana. All rights reserved.

Tanka Theory and Practice

Introductory Articles

Introduction to Take Five : Best Contemporary Tanka, Volume 1 by M. Kei
NEW A Brief Statement on Tanka Definition by M. Kei
Preface to Fire Pearls 2 by M. Kei, previously published in Fire Pearls 2 : Short Masterpieces of Love and Passion. Perryville, MD: Keibooks, 2013.

Intermediate Articles

NEW American Gothic Tanka by M. Kei
NEW Tanka Structure by M. Kei
The Labyrinth of Tanka by M. Kei, previously published in MET 7, Spring, 2008.
Wet and Dry : Lucille Nixon, Georgia O’Keefe, and Masaoka Shiki on Shasei by M. Kei, previously published in ATPO 14 Spring, 2014.
Structure and Autonomy in Tanka Sets and Sequences by M. Kei, previously published in MET 5, Autumn, 2007.
Tanka Structure : The ‘Jo’ or ‘Preface’ by M. Kei, previously published in ATPO 13, Autumn, 2012.

Advanced Articles

Substructure in Tanka : The Strophe, Line, and Poetic Phrase by M. Kei, previously published in ATPO 22, August, 2015.
The Problem of Tanka : Definition and Differentiation by M. Kei, previously published in ATPO 18, Summer, 2014

Tanka References

International Tanka Resources compiled by M. Kei
Bibliography of Tanka in English compiled by M. Kei
List of Tanka Anthologies compiled by M. Kei
Tanka and Related Venues List of Abbreviations
Index to Atlas Poetica : A Journal of World Tanka Volumes 1-32