what is this?

uguisu 鶯 is a collection of tanka-styled poems. The tanka (短歌(たんか)) is a form of classical Japanese verse, consisting of thirty-one morae divided into five units, with the first 17 morae being the "upper phrase" and the final 21 being the "lower phrase". It is the precursor to the widely known haiku.

As you may be aware, none of these poems are composed in the Japanese language, and tanka technically work on morae and not syllables. Sadly, English is the only language I feel confident enough to compose poetry in, and English is not a moraic language. So these works are not true tanka, merely tanka-styled -- I would never presume to outright call these tanka, because they cannot be. I merely find the form absolutely beautiful, with enough challenge to truly give me pause while I write. It is my favourite form of poetry to write in, and the one I am most comfortable with. (Who knows? Maybe Tawara Machi-sensei would approve...)

Perhaps one day I will find a more elegant term for these works than "tanka-styled", but until then, that will be sufficient.

Uguisu ((うぐいす)) is the Japanese word for the Japanese bush warbler. I would explain my choice of this title, but I think I've probably driven you mad enough with my own pretension as it is. Let's just say...I would never be arrogant enough to consider myself a hototogisu. Certainly not yet.