UOG professor releases new book of tanka poetry

'JOURNEY INTO TANKA': Yukiko Inoue-Smith, a professor of educational psychology and research at the University of Guam, has released a new collection of poetry and essays. Image courtesy of the University of Guam

The collection of Japanese poetry written by a professor at the University of Guam School of Education has been published by JustFiction Edition, UOG has announced. "Winter Woods: My Journey into Tanka" by Yukiko Inoue-Smith, professor of educational psychology and research, was released on Jan. 2.

"Living in Japan, the U.S. mainland, and Guam have provided me with many experiences that led me to think about the components of my daily life," she said. "During this time, writing tanka became an important part of my life."

Tanka, which translates into "short song," is one of the oldest styles of Japanese poetry, with a structure similar to haiku. Tanka poems written in Japanese are verses of 31 syllables in one straight line. But in English and other languages, they often are written using five lines.

"Winter Woods" is written about Inoue-Smith's personal journey into writing tanka. It follows her journey from Japan to America to Guam, describing the moments and experiences that had the most impact on her and how she decided to turn those moments into art.

The following is an excerpt from "Winter Woods":

I tell myself

"I'll do my best" and

have continued my journey

with only myself

as an ally

Earlier collections

Inoue-Smith has worked extensively with tanka. The book contains select poems from some of her previous collections, in addition to new poetry and essays.

Other published tanka collections by Inoue-Smith include "The Inescapable Seasons of Life," "Do Cats Dream?" and "A Shawl of Mist." She also has authored books on educational topics, including "A Jungle Named Academia: Approaches to Self-Development and Growth." Her works are available for purchase via Amazon and JustFiction.