Carole MacRury on Tanka

Carole MacRury on Tanka
She says: I write it because it brings me closer to my free verse roots, and it allows me to focus more on the personal than lyrical verse does. Like Haiku, it is condensed and can be powerful little poems. I’ve explored many themes in tanka. Here’s a link to my e-book, “The Tang of Nasturtiums”, which won the snapshot press e-book award.


Some examples from this elegantly done collection:

in my closet
clothes for all occasions
yet the years
it took to be comfortable
in my own skin

this beach glass
scoured a cloudy blue
so like your eyes
fading and emptying
to a relentless tide

She also recommends:

Tanka by Terry Ann Carter

just the way
the light reflects
on my Buddha’s face
no welcome

morning of my mammogram
I arrange ikebana
nestling the pink breast
of a blossom
between two stones

first night
for the transplanted hydrangea
I cover the roots
and sing a lullaby
under stars

although I SWORE
I’d never say it
at my son’s
bedroom door

so much worry
about your transplanted organ
no time
to appreciate
this cherry petal season

on the opera stage
everyone dying
the straight spine
of the woman
in front of me

Creative Writing at Community College

Check out Santa Fe Community College’s creative writing program for fall. There are some spaces left in our classes. Terry Wilson is teaching her signature class, Exploring Creative Writing (English 120). She says:

“I run the class workshop style, so students often get to know each other quite well. Many of my students have had their essays, stories, poems, and even books published. Writing Creatively is a perfect class to take to enter into SFCC’s Creative Writing Program because in it, you can experience many different types of writing and begin to develop a discipline. Or if you’re a more seasoned wordsmith, you can use the class to keep writing, keep getting feedback, and keep developing your skills!”
Wednesdays at 6 pm

And Terry is teaching a FREE intro class. She says: I wanted to let everyone know that I’m teaching a free creative writing class at downtown library on Monday, Aug. 3 from 5:30-7:30 pm.–it’s an Intro class in case anyone wants to know how “happening” my SFCC English 120 class is! 😉 And by the way, we do a lot of memoir writing in English 120 (Exploring Creative Writing) in addition to fiction and other non-fiction. So check it out, y’all!

Shuli Lamden is teaching poetry on Mondays at 5:30 pm. This class rotates among several teachers, so this is a good opportunity to study with her. That’s English 222. In general, Shuli’s approach emphasizes the relationship between the writer and the world, and metaphoric connections.

Just a few spaces left in my on-line intro to fiction class. This is taught with a flash fiction approach. Expect lots of exercises to develop plot, character, setting, dialogue, conflict, and resolution—in bite sized pieces. English 221. It’s on-line, so you can write in your pjs if you like.

My twice a week Memoir class (English 227, Tues/Thursday at 1 pm) is basically full—but if you watch registration sometimes a spot opens up. From diary to personal essay, this is an intensive writing class that is subject driven. What is your autobiography in food? Politics? Nature? How do we know what is “true” and should we even care. A look at the eternal questions of memoir writing, with critique groups, lots of feedback, short and long forms, and inspiring reading.

“The Maverick Cookbook: Iconic Recipes and Tales From New Mexico” by Lynn Cline

Lynn Cline’s new book, “The Maverick Cookbook: Iconic Recipes and Tales From New Mexico,” launches next Friday, July 24 at 6 pm at Collected Works Bookstore downtown. Chef John Vollertsen will introduce her, followed by a brief interview an even briefer reading and a booksigning.

She’s a terrific writer, and this looks exciting!


Canyons & Deserts in Glass

Peter Bremers Reflections from the West: Canyons and Deserts
Exhibition Dates: July 31 – August 30 Artist Reception: Fri, July 31, 2015, 5 – 7 Gallery Hours: Mon – Fri, 10 – 6; Sat, 10 – 5; Sundays by appointment
LewAllen Galleries
1613 Paseo de Peralta | Santa Fe, NM 87501 505.988.3250

Peter Bremers, Sunrise Over the Valley of the Gods, 2009, Kiln-cast Glass, 21x10x4
Sunrise Over the Valley of the Gods

Peter Bremers, Rim Rock Curve, 2014, Kiln-cast glass, 14x12x3
Rim Rock Curve

Peter Bremers, Petrified Forest, 2015, Kiln-cast Glass, 32x35x4.6
Petrified FOrest

Tanka Brought Down From The High Peaks Part 2: by Michael G. Smith

near a path tromped
through a snowfield
sparrows snag insects,
the young New York couple
minutes from their first 14’er

Mt. Democrat, CO, 14,148 feet above sea level


July 4, 2015
Uncle Sam greets hikers
Millenials pop beers
I move away, a silent
moment for Charleston

Mt. Lincoln, CO, 14,286 feet above sea level


guidebooks write
down from Lincoln
up again not 300 feet
this peak unofficial
heart and legs know otherwise

Mt. Cameron, CO, 14,238 feet above sea level


on the saddle below
Lincoln I ask the man
wearing a ‘Bama hat
why he moved to Denver –
just so much time to do this


thunderheads building,
one foot quickly
leads the other
through slick scree
down to tree line

Mt. Bross, CO, 14,172 feet above sea level

Tanka Brought Down from the High Peaks by Michael G. Smith

Tanka Brought Down from the High Peaks

starting the hike
in a darkness too dark
to see the heights
legs will lift us to,
setting moon, one guide

Fourmile Creek Trailhead, Leavick, CO, 11,240 feet
above sea level


in the thin air
at Hilltop Mine, silver
and the bucket tram
to ghostly Leavick’s mill
persist in the mind

on the saddle between Mt. Sherman and Mt. Sheridan,
12,900 feet above sea level


the black dog picks
a patch of yellow
blooms splashed
over the rocky flanks
to lie down with

Mt. Sherman, CO, 14,036 feet above sea level


after climbing
the 14’er in a train
of tens of hikers,
I ascend a 13’er,
birdsong for my ears

Mt. Sheridan, CO, 13,748 feet above sea level


pistol totin’ man
bare shoulders and legs sunburnt
what are you afraid of?
falling rocks and lightening
the good books speak of?


I’ll be posting a second set of these terrific tanka later this week.

Two New Books–haibun and tanka

From a terrific new book of haibun by Harriot West, INTO THE LIGHT (Mountains & Rivers Press, 2014).


She wouldn’t let me call her momma or mom: mummy was okay but she preferred mother and when I graduated from boarding school she suggested I call her Jean.

not one crease
on the linen tablecloth
bone china


West uses haibun in a highly narrative way. The collection reads like memoir, but memoir based on vivid moments. It’s an innovative use of the form.
To order:

Glass Lyre Press announces the release of “Snow Falling on Snow” by Renée Gregorio!


She is a dear friend and one of my favorite poets. Her tanka writing derives from akido, travel, close observation.

what is true north?
it’s where the garden grows
it’s when the Milky Way
takes its place in the night sky–
it’s the voice inside, speaking