Moonbathing: a journal of women’s tanka – reviewed by Patricia Prime

Moonbathing: a journal of women’s tanka, premiere issue edited by Pamela A. Babusci and Cathy Drinkwater Better. Black Cat Press, 613 Okemo Drive, Eldersburg, Maryland 21784, USA.  Autumn 2009/Winter 2010. 21 pp.  US/Canada 5.00; Overseas: US$7.00.  Reviewed by Patricia Prime
The first tanka, by Karen Cesar is the first “moonbathing” contest winner:

 moonbathing
 this autumn eve
 my body
 and mind float free
 in a river of stars

Following the first tanka is a page devoted to the Japanese poet Fumi Takemura:

 seasonal flowers
 at the florist’s shop
 waving . . .
 I gaze at them
 feeling quiet

If you read tanka, you’ll know that both editors are experienced poets and enthusiastic women who strive to encourage women to both read and write tanka.  Too many writers are included here to list them all in full, but the collection includes such luminaries in the field as Marjorie A. Buettner, Margaret Chula, Amelia Fielden, Kathy Kituai, Giselle Mays and many more.  The poets are presented in alphabetical order.  This is a full-immersion read with a total emphasis on the poems.

Zofia Barisas explores the dreamy gaze of a young woman admiring her growing figure:

 Reflected in the old mirror
 her dreamy gaze
 lingers
 on the soft mounds
 of her emerging breasts

While Cherie Hunter Day gazes into the distance:

 at thirty miles
 the distant coastline is just
 a blue suggestion
 it’s been years since I could
 move in any direction

and Margaret Grace writes about the ageing process:

 awaken this goddess
 trapped in the labyrinth
 of ageing
 never having known dew
 or moonlight on bare skin

The snappy format throughout the book encourages dipping in and out.  The writers are experienced in the art of tanka, so it’s a useful introduction to new writers of the form.

The premier issue of Moonbathing is edited by Pamela A. Babusci and Cathy Drinwater Better.  Following issues will be edited solely by Pamela and all submissions should be e-mailed to her: moongate44@gmail.com. Please no attachments – next deadline May 1st 2010 (spring/summer or non seasonal themes) any questions about submission fees, etc. please contact Pamela. Woman tanka poets to strongly encouraged to submit and subscribe to Moonbathing.

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