Contemprary Tanka Poet Mariko Kitakubo.

Mariko Kitakubo Profile

Mariko Kitakubo

Born in Tokyo.
Living in Mitaka-city, Tokyo
Japan Writers' Association,
Japan PEN Club,
Association of Contemporary Tanka Poets,
Japan Tanka Poets' Society,
Tan-Ku Co-Founder,
Tanka Society of America.

In commemoration of
15 years of tanka reading
The Latest Tanka Sequence
Original Tanka presented at
Spoken World Live

Contemprary Tanka Poet Mariko Kitakubo. Article details.

Ms. Vicki Miko posted a book review on DISTANCE

Ms. Vicki Miko wrote an excellent review for the book "DISTANCE." My sincere gratitude to Ms. Vicki Miko.


Deborah P. Kolodji and Mariko Kitakubo, both accomplished poets, have created a new form they have named, Tan-Ku. For those familiar with the appeal of short-form poems, Debbie and Mariko respond to each other via tanka and haiku, or the other way around, whoever starts the set or sequence first. The haiku is by Debbie and the tanka is by Mariko. Here are two of my favorite:


autumn forest
deepens and deepens
in color
who knows
when I will disappear

chilled by the wind
each step closer
to winter


Beyond the Marine Layer

an ocean of traffic
far below the sugar pine
island in the sky

here was
the seabed,
long ago. . .
Himalayan poppy
unforgettable blue

“Writing these poems of tanka/haiku response occurred organically, it wasn’t something we set out to create.” and “Mariko and I started having tanka/haiku conversations and found it addicting, the differences between tanka and haiku expressed as two voices, complementing each other.”

Mother Angel

on a Tiffany lamp
estate sale

the antique glass
comes into
the world

“The many co-creations we spun together, exchanging daily via smartphone messages were like a stream flowing in the light and shade.” and “A string of words from our souls while gritting our teeth and overcoming hardships.”

The Color red

a fir tree
in the maple forest
green. . .

dressing up drab clothes
with Christmas bling
I feel like singing

I love the seven chapter titles that carry the poems through a visible connection of different cultures and experiences—from “we hold virtual hands” to “as the road bends” to “my words drift.”

Through the Clouds

wiping off
and wiping off
the dark. . .
in the cloud

foggy morning
searching for a ray of light
within the gray

I can’t see
my fairy shoes
in the weds
trapped by gravity
within the haze

a bee dusts
the pollen

your crossed
fingers. . .
a bottle of mead
across the ocean

outstretched wings
the scan beep
of a boarding pass

DISTANCE is an expressive, heartfelt look into kindred hearts. It is a beautiful new form of short poems. The two authors touch something inside everyone.

- Vicki Miko

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