!! I have replaced the e-books of CDHK to our Carpe Diem Library and I created a new page for our own E-zine Souchou!!
Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,
Welcome at a new episode of Carpe Diem Tanka Splendor. This month our main goal is to improve our tanka writing skills through the Ten Tanka Writing Techniques by Teika. Today I will introduce to you Teika's 9th Tanka Writing Technique "Exquisite Detail" and I will try to create a tanka with it prompted "charcoal".
Let me first take you back in time to the century in which the tanka was known as waka. In ancient times, it was a custom between two writers to exchange waka instead of letters in prose. In particular, it was common between lovers. Reflecting this custom, five of the twenty volumes of the Kokin Wakashū gathered waka for love. In the Heian period the lovers would exchange waka in the morning when lovers met at the woman's home. The exchanged waka were called Kinuginu, because it was thought the man wanted to stay with his lover and when the sun rose he had almost no time to put on his clothes on which he had lain instead of a mattress (it being the custom in those days). Works of this period, The Pillow Book and The Tale of Genji provide us with such examples in the life of aristocrats. Murasaki Shikibu uses 795 waka in her The Tale of Genji as waka her characters made in the story. Some of these are her own, although most are taken from existing sources. Shortly, making and reciting waka became a part of aristocratic culture. They recited a part of appropriate waka freely to imply something on an occasion.
|Illustration from the Tale of Genji (woodblock print)
Much like with tea, there were a number of rituals and events surrounding the composition, presentation, and judgment of waka. There were two types of waka party that produced occasional poetry: Utakai and Uta-awase. Utakai was a party in which all participants wrote a waka and recited them. Utakai derived from Shikai, Kanshi party and was held in occasion people gathered like seasonal party for the New Year, some celebrations for a newborn baby, a birthday, or a newly built house. Utaawase was a contest in two teams. Themes were determined and a chosen poet from each team wrote a waka for a given theme. The judge appointed a winner for each theme and gave points to the winning team. The team which received the largest sum was the winner. The first recorded Utaawase was held in around 885. At first, Utaawase was playful and mere entertainment, but as the poetic tradition deepened and grew, it turned into a serious aesthetic contest, with considerably more formality. (source:wikipedia)
This style is indicated by exact and precise details with often complex imagery. In Teika's anthology of tanka styles he has 29 examples. One of which is one from the Kokinshū, #4:193, written by Ōno Chisato (890-905):
tsuki mireba / chiji ni mono koso / kanashikere / waga ni hitiostu no / /aki ni wa aranedo
gazing at the moon
a thousand sad things
not only I feel this
in autumn alone
a sheperd's purse flowering
underneath the hedge
peeling the leaves of daisies,
does she loves me?
dreaming In front of the fireplace
I look into the charcoal