…Traditional Tanka is based on a 5,7,5,7,7 syllable pattern. For languages such as English, however, it is difficult to compose verse within these restraints. Non-Japanese Tanka is, therefore, written freely in five lines, like Gogyohka. That is to say, Gogyohka is already being written internationally in the form of Tanka.
While a degree of freedom is inevitable in Tanka, in the case of Gogyohka the freedom of the verse is natural, and this can be used to great effect: the freedom of expression in Tanka is passive, whereas the freedom in Gogyohka is active and vibrant…
…Here are some samples of Gogyohka.
What kind of
listen to the doctor’s explanation.
He said this, he said that
what did he actually say?
Haru (Woman in her 50s)
My younger sister
“I like everything about Nao”
Does she like his “intestines”, “bowels”
Onishi Maho (2nd year primary school student)
Submerged in the bathtub
mother is secretly
thinking about me and my sister
when we had no breasts
reverberate around NY
Yumi Kochi (A student of medicine at Columbia University, New York)
No more time
Now I must compose myself
Eugene Uttley (A wage slave in Indiana, USA)