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Welcome to Young Writers' free Poetry Glossary


What is a Tanka Poem?

A tanka poem is a Japanese poem which can also be known as a waka or uta. A tanka poem is similar to a haiku but has two additional lines.

What is the Structure of a Tanka Poem?

A tanka consists of 5 lines and 31 syllables.

Each line has a set number of syllables see below:

Line 1 – 5 syllables
Line 2 – 7 syllables
Line 3 – 5 syllables
Line 4 – 7 syllables
Line 5 – 7 syllables

An Example of a Tanka Poem<

(5) I love my kitten.
(7) She is so little and cute.
(5) She has a pink tongue,
(7) And lots of long whiskers too.
(7) She purrs when I stroke her back.

Why don't you try writing a tanka poem and enter it into one of our poetry competitions.

More poetry types below.

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