Friday, April 11, 2008

Ribbons Vol.3 #4

Ribbons is a quarterly journal published by the Tanka Society of America.

Vol.3 #4 opens with some announcements from the society's President, Michael McClintock. Kirsty Karkow has handed over the secretaryship of the TSA to Carole MacRury. Johnye Strickland has been appointed a Vice-President and Eisuke Shiiki has become their Advisor and Japanese Liaison.

As well as numerous individual tanka there are some "Strings, Sequences, Clusters..."

An interesting essay by Eisuke Shiiki examines "Edward G. Seidensticker's Suggestion: A Form of English Tanka". EGS translated the 795 tanka in Murasaki Shikibu's 11th century epic The Tale of Genji as two lines of iambic pentameter, e.g.
The dew upon the fragile locust wing
Is lost among the leaves. Lost are my tears.
This was at odds with the standard practice of printing the poems as five short lines. He argued that the best stitch for translation seemed to him to be that which most naturally lends itself to poetry in the target language. In English this is the iambic pentameter. Shiiki agrees that the twenty syllables of English plus perhaps three or four balances the thirty-one of Japanese rather well. However he is not satisfied with two-line poems and prefers to break the line up, even while preserving the meter.

There are three other articles in this issue, half a dozen reviews and some short pieces of news.

Tanka Society of America
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read reviews of earlier issues.

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