Adur & Worthing Trust are sponsoring an exhibition of a selection of Tanka poems written by Lee Jackson about the wildlife, seashore and the people who live in the Adur and Worthing district, in the West Buildings Shelter exhibition space on Worthing seafront run by Worthing Borough Council from 4 August to 3 October 2021.

About Lee Jackson the Poet

Lee is a poet who has studied Japanese short form poetry for the last decade.

Lee’s poems are inspired by his travels, the seaside town where he lives and the people and wildlife who inhabit it. 

The Tanka poems are a contemporary take on the ancient art of Waka poetry writing.

With all the Time in the World, 99 Tanka Poems by Lee Jackson was published in 2015.

About MoonInk

MoonInk are taking poetry out of the book, one word at a time.

The mission at MoonInk is to bring poetry to life by taking the verse out of the book and into the world to gain a wider audience for the poetry in our lives.

We are sharing social responsibility by developing the mindfulness and wellbeing of the people living in our communities by providing Tanka Poetry Workshop material for community groups and schools, contact us at info@moonink.co.uk for more information.

The poems are available printed onto products by MoonInk with t-shirts, tea towels, mugs, aprons, cushions and cards available at www.moonink.co.uk and at the Pier Road Coffee & Art Gallery in Littlehampton.

About Tanka Poetry

Tanka is a Japanese style of poetry dating back to the 5th Century.

Tanka poems are written about nature, the seasons, love, sadness and other strong emotions, using

strong imagery with a focus on the 5 senses, Sight, Smell, Touch, Taste & Sound.

The structure of the poem is:

  • Five lines with 31 syllables or less in total
  • 1st line – 5 syllables or less
  • 2nd line – 7 syllables or less
  • 3rd line – 5 syllables or less
  • 4th line – 7 syllables or less
  • 5th line – 7 syllables or less

Most English-speaking writers apply the ‘or less’ rule as there are too many vast differences between the Japanese and English language.

Writing 5 lines of 31 syllables ‘or less’, following the short line/long line/short line/long line/ long line

form will achieve the same basic effect as the Japanese Tanka.

Join in and write your own Tanka poem

Visit www.moonink.co.uk to download your free guide on How to Write a Tanka Poem and submit your poems for consideration for publication* in the online MoonInk Tanka Poetry Anthology at www.mooninkpoetry.com which is quickly becoming one of the best online collections of contemporary Tanka poetry today.

*Subject to submission guidelines

The MoonInk Slate Project

The slate project originated during the first lockdown in 2020 and we love the idea of Art Abandonment.

We have been writing Lee’s Haiku and Tanka poems onto pieces of slate and leaving them along the seafront as pieces of Abandoned Art for people to take home if they like them.

So far we have left over 380 pieces and have had some fantastic feedback on Social Media from people who have picked them up, here are some quotes:

  • “I’m loving finding your slate poems on my beach in Ferring! Thank you!”
  • “I found 154/1000 on Littlehampton seafront thank you make me smile after a long shift. K NHS”
  • “Hi, saw a stone sitting on a bench in a hut with lots of other heart shaped stones, just along the Worthing seafront going towards Goring. I liked what you wrote so thought I’d see what ‘Moonink’ was. Just dropping a note to say well done, and thank you for the message on the stone – it was really nice. Take care, D”
  • “You should go on a dog walk treasure hunt!
  • “I got one, Cho x”
  • “Lovely treat tucked away for the attentive passerby. Thank you @moonink5”
  • “Mmm, very nice piece x”
  • “Free poetry and feeding the birds – you really are lovely people”
  • “I love, love, love Haiku!”
  • “Loved this one!”
  • “We walked along the beach today and saw quite a few.”
  • “This is so beautifully sculpted… You do indeed have a beautiful way of expressing your thoughts… Love it!!”
  • ” Love your slate, thank you.”
  • “Wow what a find! Thank you @moonink5 🙂 The Slate Project is a lovely scheme, placing poetry for people to pick up :-)”
  • “This is so beautifully sculpted… You do indeed have a beautiful way of expressing your thoughts… Love it!!

The benefits of writing poetry

Writing has long been hailed as a deeply therapeutic practice and poetry imparts a broad range of emotional and intellectual benefits that are useful to personal growth. Whether we are working on self-improvement, psychological coping or even developing relationships.

Writing poetry can be used to promote well-being and emotional healing and encourage participants to express deep-seated emotions.

The healing effect of words has long been acknowledged. The early Egyptians wrote words on papyrus, dissolved them in liquid and gave them to those who were ill as a form of medicine. In more recent history, reading, and expressive writing were employed as supplementary treatments for those experiencing mental or emotional distress.

In the early 1800s poetry was used as a form of therapy to those being treated. In the 1920’s they even began offering poems to people along with medicines to fill prescriptions.

Writing poetry provides an emotional release. When emotions are held in, they do not go away and may impact individuals more than they realise.

Poetry is often written during times when people are feeling intense emotions which drives the poetry and the creative process. The processing of emotions often leads to greater self-awareness and new insights.

The benefits of writing poetry include increased self and interpersonal awareness, and enhanced capacity to capture and reframe significant experiences. The ritualistic composition of Tanka poetry can have a calming effect.

Poems often emerge in the midst of strong emotions. While part of what the poem does is describe an experience vividly and creatively, there is often a component of trying to make sense of the experience through trying to understand it more fully.

Poetry can play an important role in a healthier society, in which everyone, including the poets, have a better sense of themselves. By structuring reality through language we can arrive at a deeper appreciation of the here and now and we can discover what we think or feel about something or someone through language.

Mindfulness can be described as a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.

Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel. Reading and writing poetry can help people become more mindful and can relieve stress, trauma, feeling down, and other well-being challenges.

Visit us at www.moonink.co.uk to sign up for the free newsletter with the Poem of the Month and follow us on social media for more info.