How To-32: "How to Write a Tanka Poem"

How to Write a Tanka Poem

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A Tanka is a five line poem, usually used to describe nature, but can also be effective in conveying strong emotions. This tutorial will give you a description on how to write one.


  1. Write out the first line of the poem. Remember that it should have five syllables: “Green and lush forest…”
  2. Create the second line in the poem. This line has seven syllables: “…Trees are reaching toward the sky…”
  3. Make the third line of the poem. It is supposed to have five syllables: “…Eyes peer from the shrubs…”
  4. Write the fourth line of the poem. This line has seven syllables: “…A rustle of twigs within…”
  5. Create the final line in your poem. Keep in mind that the fifth line has seven syllables: “…A bird’s call sounds above you…”
  6. Here is the finished Tanka:“Green and lush forest,Tress are reaching toward the sky,Eyes peer from the shrubs,A rustle of twigs within,A bird’s call sounds above you…”


  • The key to writing any good poem is to be creative. Use imagery and words that convey emotion. Do not be afraid to whip out the thesaurus.
  • Practice; the more you write, the better you will be.
  • Read Tanka’s for inspiration

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