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Fleeting Words Tanka Contest 2024 - The Results

 It has been an honour to convene the Fleeting Words Tanka Contest. I was delighted to receive 543 entries, a diverse collection of tanka from across the globe, including the following countries, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, France, Germany, Ghana, Guyana, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. A special thank you to friends on social media who distributed our competition flyer via their Facebook pages and posted our competition details on their personal Web pages.It has been a pleasure to work with an’ya the contest judge. Thank you to all entrants for trusting me with their tanka.--Marilyn Humbert

It also has been my honour to judge this Fleeting Words Tanka contest and work with our coordinator Marilyn Humbert. Thanks to her for making the contest run smoothly, and to peterB for keeping the website working. Thank you also to everyone who entered in support of our combined efforts.  



waxwing winter

all my unsent letters

in a wooden box

wrapped in shadows

how you touch me still

C.X. Turner, UK

This lovely tanka by C.X. Turner from the UK was always at the top of my shortlist. The consistent “w” sounds are a rare plus. The opening line “waxwing winter” sets the stage and the closing line “how you touch me still” completes the tanka in a poetic manner that leaves readers on an up note and yet gives us closure. With that last word “still”, those letters will stay in a box, the reader’s mind, and the poet’s heart forever. 




unopened cones

on silvered jack pines

at rest until

the fire’s passion gives

their seed to the wind

 Debbie Strange, Canada

Yet another fine tanka by Debbie Strange of Canada takes a strong second place. In judging this contest I looked for “waka-like” entries and hers was a definite winner. The first line “unopened cones” rather than just saying “pine cones” caught my attention. Debbie has a way of turning her tanka in line 3 and skillfully completing it in the final line. 




wind-swept hill—
the smell of summer rain
rises with birdsong,
the brooding thunderclouds
seem suddenly far afield

Benjamin Bläsi, Switzerland

For third place, this tanka by Benjamin Bläsi from Switzerland has multiple images that he manages to tie together nicely The key lines are 4 and 5; “brooding” is an excellent way to describe the thunderclouds, and “far afield” with the “f” sounds combined with short and long “a” sounds creates a dramatic close.





surreal colors

as I look upward

holding your hand

the Northern Lights dazzle

like the thousand hues of love

Darrell Lindsey , USA

An Honorable Mention tanka by Darrell Lindsey of the USA that shows us a dazzling array of “Northern Lights” Darrel’s last line with the words “the thousand hues of love” gives this tanka its romantic touch.