Judges’ report on tanka competition

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The winner of the 2011 Fremantle Press Online Tanka Competition has been announced today.

Andrew was one of the judges. Wendy Jenkins was the other.

Andrew wrote the final Judges’ Report on behalf of both judges. The Report, which has been posted on the Fremantle Press blogsite (here), is reproduced below:


Judges’ Report – Fremantle Press Online Tanka Competition

There were a number of strong entries for the 2011 Fremantle Press Online Tanka Competition. The judges, Wendy Jenkins and Andrew Lansdown, settled on a shortlist of three tanka and, after some to-and-fro, selected ‘Old Flame’ by Rose van Son as the winner:

Old Flame

all the candles lit

just a flicker now and then

the bowl tightly fits

what is left of you and me

murmurings behind closed doors

— Rose van Son

As Wendy commented in a recent post, ‘ “Old Flame” uses metaphor to evoke the passing of time and dying down of love’s first flame’. Both Wendy and Andrew felt that ‘Old Flame’ had a mysterious, open quality. It is an atmospheric poem, conveying both visual and emotional shiftings of light and shadow.

Rose van Son handles the tanka form skilfully, keeping the 5-7-5-7-7 syllabic structure, with each line consisting of a balanced phrase, and achieving a shift of thought after the third line. Rose also handles the title well, making it an integral part of the tanka, and using it to focus the reader’s perceptions. (Note: Using a title with a tanka is an acceptable innovation—for although traditionally tanka do not have titles, they are often accompanied by ‘headnotes’, consisting of a phrase or a sentence explaining the poem’s setting, etc.)

Two other tanka entries deserve particular mention: ‘Treasure’ by Annamaria Weldon and an untitled tanka by Gary Colombo De Piazzi. [READ THE REST OF THE REPORT HERE.]

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