Thursday, October 06, 2016


I'm happy to say that I'm taking on a new role as tanka editor of the journal Presence.

Presence has been my favourite journal publishing haiku, tanka, haibun and similar poetry ever since I first encountered it back in 1999. What I enjoy most about it is the way that it encourages and accepts different voices, different styles and different opinions, giving respect to all. Somehow this has been done without ever forgetting the traditions and aesthetics that these forms have grown out of that are, in some sense, timeless.

I will forever be indebted to the founding editor of Presence, Martin Lucas, for his encouragement and for being an inspirational writer and mentor. Even though we only met on a relatively few occasions I considered him a friend and one who's opinion I always placed great store by. His loss was a loss to the whole haiku community.

I'm happy to be tanka editor in particular because I have a special affection for the form. I love the way it combines a similar restraint to haiku while allowing just a little more leeway for expressing emotion directly or presenting a more subjective experience. While I find it harder to write a tanka that I'm pleased with than a haiku, it's also more satisfying when I manage it. I look forward to the opportunity to select and showcase what I consider to be the best contemporary tanka.

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