Global Haiku Festival
Haiku Society of America

Millikin University
Dr. Randy Brooks

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Tanka Society of America
Plenary Meeting

April 14, 2000
Decatur, Illinois

A formation meeting of the Tanka Society of America took place on Friday, April 14, 2000, at the Global Haiku Festival at Millikin University in Decatur Illinois.

The new society aims to further the reading, writing, understanding, promotion, and enjoyment of tanka poetry in English.

Those present for the entire formation meeting included Randy Brooks, Naomi Y. Brown, David Cobb, Ellen Compton, Job Conger, Penny Harter, William J. Higginson, Larry Lavenz, Pamela Miller Ness, Michael Nickels-Wisdom, Chris Spindel, Celia Stuart-Powles, Michael Dylan Welch, and Paul O. Williams.

Many others were present for part of the meeting, and dozens more were not able to be present in person but expressed interest in the society and opinions on agenda items through e-mail or by letter.

Michael Dylan Welch, President

Many thanks to Randy Brooks and Millikin University for providing time for the formation meeting during the Global Haiku Festival.

Society Name and Officers

Those present elected to name the group the Tanka Society of America, and also elected the following officers:

President: Michael Dylan Welch (
Vice President: Paul O. Williams (
Secretary: Job Conger (
Treasurer: Larry Lavenz (
Newsletter Editor: Pamela Miller Ness (

In addition, Kristen Deming will serve as official advisor and Japanese liaison for the society.

Membership Dues

Membership dues are $10.00 for U.S. members, $12.00 for members in Canada, and $15.00 for anyone elsewhere. Membership will include four quarterly newsletters and other benefits as may be determined. Those joining the Tanka Society of America by December 31, 2000 will be considered "charter members." To join, please send dues, payable in U.S. funds to "Tanka Society of America," to:

Job Conger
TSA Secretary
428 W Vine Street
Springfield, IL 62704-2933 USA

Donations are also particularly welcome to help get this fledgling society off the ground. Note: If paying by international money order or postal money order, please make dues payable to "Tanka Society of America c/o Larry Lavenz" and send to Job Conger at the above address.


If you have tanka-related news or announcements, or wish to have your tanka books listed in the newsletter, please send information and/or review copies to:

Pamela Miller Ness
TSA Newsletter Editor
33 Riverside Drive, Apt 4G
New York, NY 10023 USA

The first issue of the TSA newsletter will be published later this summer. A future issue will feature a complete list of tanka-related books and journals. Please note that the newsletter is *not* seeking tanka poems, but just tanka-related news and information at this time. To publish tanka poems, the society recommends that you submit your work to Laura Maffei, editor of American Tanka, at P.O. Box 120-024, Staten Island, NY 10312 (e-mail:; to Jane and Werner Reichhold, editors of Lynx, at P.O. Box 1250, Gualala, CA 94554 (e-mail:; or to other journals that publish tanka.

Tanka Contests and Meetings

The society has elected to sponsor an annual tanka contest (details to follow) and to hold meetings at various locations around the country. The first meeting was held on Sunday, June 18, 2000, in Washington, D.C., from 10:00 am to noon at Borders Books. (This meeting took place on the same weekend as a meeting of the Haiku Society of America on June 17.) Other
meetings and activities will be announced.

Charter Memberships

Everyone is welcome to join the Tanka Society of America. To be considered a charter member, please send in your dues payment to the secretary by the end of this calendar year.

As Gerald St. Maur wrote in a Haiku Canada Newsletter article on tanka in 1999, tanka poetry

"takes us from delight to fulfillment, from insight to comprehension, and psycho-orgasm to love; in general, from the spontaneous to the measured. To achieve this requires a fundamental shift in emphasis: from glimpse to gaze, from first sight to exploration, and from juxtaposition to interplay; in short, from awareness to perspective. . . . It is a shift which, in general, takes us from the simple to the complex. More pointedly, it moves us from the poetry of the noun to the poetry of the verb; in weaving terms, from the thread to the tapestry; in botanical terms, from seed to plant; in chemical terms, from element to compound; in painting terms, from sketch to picture; and in musical terms, from chord to melody."

Here's to making many wonderful melodies with our tanka poems, and to decades of mutual support in cooperation with the Haiku Society of America and writers worldwide of haiku, tanka, and related forms of poetry. The Tanka Society of America welcomes your ongoing support and participation.

--Michael Dylan Welch, President                    

Speaker Biographies | Speaker's Haiku | Millikin Students | Global Haiku Participants | Festival Photos

Questions or comments? Contact Dr. Randy Brooks
Last modified August 20, 2000