The United Haiku and Tanka Society

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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.



    Fleeting Words Tanka Contest

Deadline: Open from 1 May 2024 to 31 May 2024, results will be posted by the end of June 2024.

Sponsor: The United Haiku and Tanka Society.

Coordinator: Marilyn Humbert, Australia. 

Adjudication: an’ya, USA.

Eligibility: Open to everyone worldwide.

Awards: This contest is FREE for up to 10 entries, all rights remain with the tanka poets. Printable Award Certificates will be emailed to the winners for First, Second, Third, and one Honorable Mention. (see below).

Submit: Entries must be the author's original work, be unpublished and never posted publicly anywhere, and not under consideration elsewhere for the entire time it takes to complete the judging. This contest is un-themed, and open to all age groups worldwide, any season is acceptable, and there is no specific syllable requirement with the exception of a short, long, short, long, long rhythm written in 5 horizontal lines of text.

Contest Coordinator’s Note: “All entrants will be advised that I have received their entry, but if you haven’t heard from me within 7 days, please re-send.”, Marilyn Humbert

Entry Fee: None, it’s FREE

Guidelines: Use the subject heading FLEETING WORDS, and type each individual tanka in the body of your email; no attachments, please. Include your name, country, and email contact. Email your entries to mhumbert1953@ gmail dot com (no political, offensive, or inappropriate material).

Notification: ONLY the winners will be notified via email, (and if you have no email address available, (please provide a proxy email address.) If you do not hear anything from us by 15 June 2024 your entries are automatically free to submit elsewhere. Entries that do not follow these guidelines will not be considered, so please read very carefully.

Publication: The winning tanka will be featured in late June 2024 on the UHTS website along with the judges' commentary. Thank you for participating and good luck to all.