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Adjudication, an’ya


more than fifty years

we wandered side by side

in seeming bliss

who sees the cracks and flaws

we patched with liquid gold

Christa Pandey, USA


For First Place, I chose this stellar tanka and I cannot begin to praise it enough! The rhythm is to perfection, and the words are not too few nor too many. The stunning juxtaposition between repairing the “cracks and flaws” in a relationship alongside the process of Kintsugi, a centuries-old Japanese art of repairing broken pottery and transforming it into a new work of art with liquid gold. The name of this technique is derived from the words “Kin” (golden) and “tsugi” (joinery), which translates to mean “golden repair.” The “scars and flaws” of a broken ceramic become the focus and turn an object into something unique and exquisite. Kintsugi dates back to the 15th century and is an elegant way to amend ceramics. It pertains to the Zen ideal of Wabi-sabi, the concept of embracing imperfection. and finding pleasure in aged and worn objects and valuing their blemishes as beautiful. Kintsugi repair also relates to other Japanese expressions, such as mottainai, which means to regret wasting something, and mushin, which means to free one’s mind and accept change. This is a definite “wish I had written that” tanka. Congratulations Christa.                                                                                                                                                                                ------


dried cattails

delicately spun with frost


sweetening the bitterness

of winter without you

Debbie Strange, Canada

In Second Place is this charming tanka by Debbie Strange. Only an experienced tanka poet would notice that 

the “dried cattails/delicately spun with frost” look like “confections”. This is a fine example of “showing” rather 

than “telling”. She continues showing in the final lines with her use of the word “sweetening”, and then relates 

It to a human element with “the bitterness of winter without you”.  Debbie has chosen her words very carefully

which sets her tanka apart from others. Well done for this author, as usual. Thank you, Debbie!



between the pages

of a foreign language book

love poems

a pressed violet links me

to the life of a stranger

Carole MacRury, USA

For Third Place, I’ve selected this eloquent tanka by Carole MacRury. A concept we can easily relate to with a songlike tanka rhythm, plus a  link between something taken from nature and a human response to it. What makes it even more special is the connection between the reader and the person who pressed the violet. In this tanka, there is no need to exchange words between individuals who speak different languages. Congrats Carole. 



this morning

on my mother’s tombstone

a spider web

at the sun’s first ray

momentary strings of pearls

Milan Rajkumar, India

As an Honorable Mention, this fine tanka captures the concept of “transitory” we all long to write about. Milan’s final line says it all with “momentary strings of pearls” as the metaphor for how short and fleeting life can be,” one pearl” at a time. This tanka has a nature reference as well as a human emotion. Thank you Milan!