Writing Newsletter May 2020

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Dear seeker of word and images
How shall I Live? 16 Tanka responses to a 16 picture collage
Like the sonnet, the tanka employs a turn, known as a pivotal image,. This turn is located within the third line, connecting the kami-no-ku, or upper poem, with the shimo-no-ku, or lower poem.

I often create collages as a way of opening to other voices within. This
month I’m sharing one with 16 images constructed during Lockdown time. In response to the question, ‘How shall I live?’ during these days and beyond, I‘ve written a Tanka for each picture. A Tanka (‘short song’) is a classical Japanese 31-syllable lyric poem divided into five lines – 5 7 5 7 7.

Originally chanted aloud to musical accompaniment, these forms have existed for over 1300 years. They are intended to flow so often have no punctuation. Some early poets such as the Sufi mystic Hafiz (1300’s) include their names at the end of a poem as a signature. I adopt this convention in these Tanka. I’ve photographed the original inspiration, in triptych form – left, centre and right. (with inevitable overlap.) Try this idea to generate text? Dorian


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