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From Tanka Diary

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Feb-12-21 From the Poet on "from Tanka Diary"

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From Tanka Diary

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The botanical garden is just as I remember,
although it is certain that everything
has changed since my last visit.

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Feb 12
Rosie Grady (Feb 12 2021 8:46AM) : the botanical garden more

This reference to “the botanical garden” at first is hard to interpret the meaning behind its usage. However after a deeper look into this poem, I believe the botanical garden is used to reference a journey into the mind and heart, how they interact with each other and over time our views and knowledge grow and change.

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Feb 12
Meredith Voigt (Feb 12 2021 9:04AM) : Botanical gardens more

A botanical garden is a garden dedicated to the collection, cultivation, preservation and display of a wide range of plants labelled with their botanical names.

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Feb 12
Jackie Sweat (Feb 12 2021 1:41PM) : Garden connection to mind more

I agree, but maybe the garden represents her mind. A garden is a collection of flowers like Meredith said so this could be a cultivation of thoughts and dreams. The memories stay but ambitions change all the time.

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Feb 12
Brianna Balmer (Feb 12 2021 9:06AM) : Just as I remember, though everything has changed. more

I feel she is trying to convey the idea that though you have been through that position or place in life before, when you go through it again it is different. You are different, you have grown into a different person through your experiences.

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Feb 12
Destiny Baird (Feb 12 2021 11:53AM) : great observation more

I did not catch this when I first read this poem, but now that you mention it, it makes complete sense. This is such a great life lesson to understand ones mistakes and learn from them to better future experiences that may be in a similar form.

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Feb 12
Emma Pfeifer (Feb 12 2021 12:00PM) : i agree more

I agree with you Brianna. The author is using the botanical garden as her comforting past life. She goes away for awhile, but when she returns it has completely changed from when she was used to.

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Feb 12
Lauren Trendel (Feb 12 2021 1:44PM) : Everything is as I remember, but everything has changed. [Edited] more

Throughout life we encounter different people and places at different times. At these different times we have changed and developed as people, someone may appear the same or sound the same or look the same. Yet everything has changed. Your perspective at different points in life are different on certain things based on the development on your ideas, beliefs, or interests. This causes everything to be different.

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Feb 12
Ross Scully (Feb 12 2021 2:08PM) : Change in the way of thinking more

I agree the way we think changes over the years, and I think this poem is trying to represent that. We have changed as we developed as people through the different interactions we have had through out our life.

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Feb 12
Flora Clarke (Feb 12 2021 9:06AM) : Familiarity more

In the very first line, the author states the garden is just how she remembers, but in the last line of the stanza she writes how everything has changes since she was last there. I believe this stanza is showing how even if something changes, the memories last a lifetime. Like Morrie in “Tuesdays with Morrie,” he may not look the same, or be able to do as much as he used to but his spirit is still the same.

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Feb 12
Katherine Hanover (Feb 12 2021 11:54AM) : 100% agree more

I think you worded this perfectly for what I was thinking after I read this piece. I know that feeling of coming back to something from your past and seeing it be the same, but you be so different. I think this goes along with Tuesdays With Morrie, beautifully.

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Feb 12
Hanna Brock (Feb 12 2021 11:55AM) : Memory more

Harryette Mullen describes her garden, and about how it has changed since the last time she was there. When saying “everything has changed since my last visit”, Mullen shows how when revisiting a place, you see it a different way then before. Although she does see changes in her garden, her memory helps her remember the garden, but also compare how it is now.

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Feb 12
Austin Densmore (Feb 12 2021 1:53PM) : Botanical Garden more

Just as a few of my fellow classmates have said, this stanza describes a familiarity within the situation. I feel like the author was envisioning a scene of the botanical garden in complete disarray but she still relives the memories that she once experienced there.

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Feb 12
Katlyn Burris (Feb 12 2021 2:07PM) : Nostalgia more

I feel like this stanza depicts a feeling similar to how nostalgia feels. Visiting things from the past that you remember so fondly, and they are still the same, but feel so different. Vice versa.

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Feb 12
Riley Weber (Feb 12 2021 2:13PM) : the botanical gardens more

i think this stanza describes a botanical garden that the author was revisiting but certain things have changed in the garden since she has last been there but she still feels like the garden is familiar

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Feb 16
Kali Moffett (Feb 16 2021 12:42PM) : Memory [Edited] more

The author speaks of the memory she has of the botanical garden and it being the way she remembers. I feel that this is important to the author. Her passion for hiking and going back to this place which holds such a special place in her heart. The memory of the botanical garden is something that will always belong to her.

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Feb 12
Colin Kapust (Feb 12 2021 8:43AM) : Nature more

Throughout this poem this author mentions nature multiple times. Through the last couple lines I think this author is finding all their happiness through nature.

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Feb 12
Paul Hankins (Feb 12 2021 6:48AM) : Mr. Hankins: Heraclitus Quote more

“No man ever steps into the same river twice, it is not the same river and he is not the same man.”

https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/heraclitus_107157

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Feb 12
Jayden Robinson (Feb 12 2021 11:44AM) : The Garden of the mind more

As I read through this poem several times, I find myself interpreting the poem in many different ways, but the most prominent one is that the garden spoken of is the garden of the mind. In this line, the author states that “…everything has changed since my last visit.” The mind is constantly pulsing, changing, and redirecting in many individual ways, and when you look back at your mind, and the way you think, compared to years prior you notice a thousand differences. Just as you remember, but everything has changed.

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Feb 12
Avery Estephan (Feb 12 2021 1:50PM) : "Everything has changed since my last visit." more

This makes me assume that she might be reminiscing on old childhood memories. She may be making connections as she walks across the path. She does this as she describes the greenery around her.

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Feb 12
Colleen O'Hara (Feb 12 2021 2:00PM) : changes more

When we think back on a memory, we aren’t remembering that memory. We are remembering the last time we thought about that moment. Mullen knows those changes happen and as time goes on perception changes, making that memory different.

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Feb 12
Isabel Odle (Feb 12 2021 4:05PM) : Change more

Mullen is not remembering the specific moment, she is remembering the small details that go with it. The location, like what is being said here, is what she remembers from her last visit.

How many hilarious questions these fuzzy
fiddleheads are inquiring of spring
will be answered as green ferns unfurl?

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Feb 12
Hankins Lindsay Barnes (Feb 12 2021 8:44AM) : Pareidolia more

This poem is in direct relations to the term “pareidolia.” Pareidolia is the tendency for incorrect perception of a stimulus as an object, pattern or meaning known to the observer. The writer of this poem is viewing nature as something different than another may see.

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Feb 12
Belle Garrett (Feb 12 2021 10:17AM) : Great point [Edited] more

This point is something I had not considered. I think it is interesting to contemplate different perspective of nature, colors, and how those factors influence how one may see the nature surrounding them.

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Feb 12
Paul Hankins (Feb 12 2021 6:43AM) : Mr. Hankins: What is a fiddlehead? more

This link will take you to a bulletin on fiddleheads. Did you know these were edible?

https://extension.umaine.edu/publications/4198e/

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Feb 12
Paul Hankins (Feb 12 2021 8:40AM) : Mr. Hankins: Provocation more

What might be the questions we would ask of spring?

How might we, writers and artists all, be likened to “fiddleheads?”

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Feb 12
Jacy Stricker (Feb 12 2021 9:06AM) : Unfurl - make or become spread out [Edited] more

I think Mullen’s word choice here was very interesting. Essentially saying how many of their (the plants) questions are going to be answered when the spread out and open up. I believe he could be talking of how, not only himself, but the whole garden has changed. Were his questions answered? Has he spread out?

Walking the path, I stop to pick up
bleached bark from a tree, curled into
a scroll of ancient wisdom I am unable to read.

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Feb 12
Joseph Lemon (Feb 12 2021 8:44AM) : Great imagery more

In this stanza alone makes me imagine a great big garden of many plants and tree sprawling everywhere.
In the whole poem I couldn’t stop imagining things in my head so therefore I think the author did a good job of imagery.

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Feb 12
Flora Clarke (Feb 12 2021 8:47AM) : Comparison more

Harryette Mullen compares the “bleached back from a tree” to “a scroll of ancient wisdom.” Her comparison may be an example of a pareidolia, which occurs when we see objects in trees, or faces in clouds. The author sees the bleached bark as a scroll, that she’s unable to read.

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Feb 12
Emily Morrison (Feb 12 2021 12:33PM) : I agree. more

I agree. I think this is a good comparison. It connects two things that would not typically be related.

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Feb 12
Grant Miller (Feb 12 2021 8:54AM) : Adventure more

The poet is talking of an adventure he had on one his hikes and was able to find a scroll of ancient wisdom.

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Feb 12
Ella Morrow (Feb 12 2021 11:44AM) : Childhood more

This brought back some visceral childhood memories. As kids, my sisters and I used to pick up the shed bark from aspen trees and use it in our games. It could be a plate, a towel, or even an decree from the queen.

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Feb 12
student mia perronie (Feb 12 2021 11:53AM) : Wisdom more

The scroll of ancient wisdom the author is unable to read could mean many things. I believe she is trying to say that nature has its own story and voice and we may not be able to read it while it is being told.

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Feb 12
Isabel Odle (Feb 12 2021 4:06PM) : Wisdom more

I agree. The author is explaining that she is unable to read because it is nature. Although we as humans have a good understanding of how nature works, we do not know every single detail. And here, she is saying that nature has its own story, we may never understand.

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Feb 12
Daniel Miller (Feb 12 2021 2:13PM) : Stopping more

This stanza of walking along the path and picking up ancient wisdom unable to be read is interesting. It eludes to the first stanza where the author says everything has changed, but still feels the same. They stop for the bark, but find it so old and changed they are no longer able to interpret it.

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Feb 12
Paul Hankins (Feb 12 2021 6:46AM) : Mr. Hankins: Birch Bark? more

Here, the poet stops to pick up a piece of bark that has peeled and fallen from a tree.

There is a reason people are discouraged from peeling bark from these trees: it will take the tree up to five years to re-grow that bark.

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Feb 12
Emme Rooney (Feb 12 2021 8:25AM) : Figurative Language more

I would label this line as an employment of metaphor. The “scroll of ancient wisdom” refers to the tree bark with its own language of patterns and color. The tree symbolizes a rich culture or history, and the bark is its unique employment of language.

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Feb 12
Paul Hankins (Feb 12 2021 8:31AM) : Yes, and... more

Wouldn’t the bark probably peel and curl naturally. And the imagery of the etching on that bark would certainly look like “scrawl” of some sort. What would it be like if we could read trees? There is some fascinating research out there suggesting that the flora is in a form of “communication” together. I wonder what modes they employ? I DO hope that it is poetry.

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Feb 12
Connor Whitpan (Feb 12 2021 8:30AM) : Immersed in nature more

The character in the poem begins to fantasize about the nature around them.

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Feb 12
Ethan Nattermann (Feb 12 2021 12:02PM) : Unable to read more

I think this line sums up how humans desire a greater understanding of nature, and how they are currently “unable to read” it.

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Feb 12
Carter Smith (Feb 12 2021 12:09PM) : Nature more

I agree with this. There are many wonders in the world in regards to to the nature around us and it is “impossible to read”

Even in my dreams I’m hiking
these mountain trails expecting to find a rock
that nature has shaped to remind me of a heart.

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Feb 12
Paul Hankins (Feb 12 2021 8:35AM) : Mr. Hankins: Notice more

Notice how ejambment is working throughout this piece and how it sort of “guides” the reader through the pacing of the poem.

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Feb 12
Kinsey Holland (Feb 12 2021 8:42AM) : Pareidolia more

In this stanza of Mullen’s Tanka, she uses something called “Pareidolia” in the last sentence. Paredolia is the act of finding objects or symbols in something that is not really there. For example, finding shapes or figures in the clouds or seeing the man in the moon. In the last stanza of this poem, Mullen writes “Even in my dreams I’m hiking these mountain trails expecting to find a rock that nature has shaped to remind me of a heart.” She’s using pareidolia to see a heart in a rock even though it’s just a rock.

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Feb 12
student Heather Purlee (Feb 12 2021 11:55AM) : The way our mind works more

I believe this part of them poem is referencing pareidolia because it shows how nature can be interpreted as loving when the sun shines or a breeze blows but that the mind can also find really scary things about nature like imagining a monster out of the shadow on a rock.

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Feb 12
Josiah French (Feb 12 2021 12:01PM) : I like hiking more

I have been many places to hike and i love nature. It is very peaceful and gets your mind off of all the tings in the world

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Feb 12
Aron Guerrero (Feb 12 2021 2:04PM) : very true more

you’re right. It’s like nature has the special power to clear all the problems and worries from us in an instant.

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Feb 12
Dominic Decker (Feb 12 2021 12:09PM) : Hiking more

This stanza gives us an insight on to how much the author really loves hiking. the author says, “Even in my dreams I’m hiking.” This shows how much hiking means to the author. If you are dreaming about something, you must really love doing it.

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Feb 12
student Reese Garloch (Feb 12 2021 1:45PM) : nature more

After reading this article a few times, I think the author finds their happiness in the nature. Even though it has apparently changed since the last visit, the author is still reminded of the happiness that nature brings.

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Feb 12
Matteo De Maso (Feb 12 2021 1:54PM) : Optimism more

Although difficult to understand, I think this part of the poem is talking about being optimistic in life. How even though life can be a rocky and rough road that there are things that bring us comfort and the feeling of safety, and we should be looking for these things.

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Feb 12
Gavin Law (Feb 12 2021 8:34AM) : Hiking more

The author says that even in their dream they’re hiking. This shows a deep love for hiking is expressed by the author.

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Feb 12
Emily Weber (Feb 12 2021 8:57AM) : Hiking [Edited] more

I agree. I think this shows that hiking is truly her happy place and she is constantly searching for nature to show her any type of sign. It is what she yearns for.

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Feb 12
Dominic Decker (Feb 12 2021 12:11PM) : Hiking more

I agree. I did not see your response to this stanza before answering with a response of my own, but we seem to have very similar views. I agree that the dream shows a deep love for hiking.

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Feb 12
Tavian Smith (Feb 12 2021 12:11PM) : Hiking more

On your thought on the author having a deep love for hiking. I wonder if this is due to past events. For example, maybe she used to hike with someone in her life that has passed away and it brought her appreciation for hiking even greater than is was before.

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Feb 12
Addyson Downs (Feb 12 2021 1:51PM) : Consistency more

It is clear that the author has a special place in her heart for nature, specifically the garden, and this proves to be true once again in this line. In the last line of the third stanza, the author states that there is “ancient wisdom” in something as simple as bleached bark. There is symbolism in this line, just as I believe this dream is symbolic. It is not only symbolic for her love of hiking, or her love for nature, but also for her reliance on it being there consistently. Nature seems to be a place that makes her happy, AND is also reliable. In her dreams, she knows she can go to the trails and find a rock, and she knows she can always go hiking. People tend to find happiness in things that are not stable, but nature is consistent. It will always be there for her, in her dreams and otherwise.

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Feb 12
Lucas Densford (Feb 12 2021 8:34AM) : Nature's Lifeblood more

This line is multi-purposed, as it represents not only simply the heart of the nature, but maybe even more so the heart of Mullen as this is a place of happiness and love for her. The nature itself reminds her of a heart, whether it takes that shape literally or figuratively, because often we view nature simply as an object; however it is a living thing as well, adapting to this world. Mullen is able to see and appreciate that, but this takes the shape of a heart for her, as it is a place where all the memories are reconciled as this botanical garden has been a place of happiness and laughter for her, as detailed in lines 1-3. Though it has adapted, it is still the same place she knew “at heart.”

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Feb 12
Paul Hankins (Feb 12 2021 8:36AM) : Yes, and... more

In order for nature to do this, it must employ its elements, right?

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Feb 15
Student Kennedy Freitas (Feb 15 2021 10:06PM) : I agree more

I agree with Lucas, and it seems as tho seeing the nature in everyday occurrences is a big part of her life. The botanical garden brought about a feeling of nostalgia in her. AN she makes a point of saying that is has changed so much since her last visit. But isn’t life that way? Everyday feels the same, but when you look back on a year ago, everything is different. The heart that she speaks of, I feel is the beat of nature. Nature pulses in its own way, and there are many parts of nature that come together to make the “heart” beat.

DMU Timestamp: November 12, 2020 20:50

Added February 12, 2021 at 6:33am by Paul Hankins
Title: From the Poet on "from Tanka Diary"

About This Poem

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“The spirit of tanka interests me more than following rigid conventions. As I understand it, the tradition allows a variety of approaches, from simple description and heartfelt expression to classical allusion and evocative wordplay. Succeeding generations rediscover and renew the form so that it retains its vitality.”

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—Harryette Mullen

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DMU Timestamp: November 12, 2020 20:50

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Feb 12
Paul Hankins (Feb 12 2021 6:35AM) : From Poets.org more

From A Poet’s Glossary

The following additional definition of the term tanka is reprinted from A Poet’s Glossary by Edward Hirsch.

The tanka is sometimes separated by the three “upper lines” (kami no ku) and the two “lower ones” (shimo no ku). The upper unit is the origin of the haiku. The brevity of the poem and the turn from the upper to the lower lines, which often signals a shift or expansion of subject matter, is one of the reasons the tanka has been compared to the sonnet. There is a range of words, or engo (verbal associations), that traditionally associate or bridge the sections. Like the sonnet, the tanka is also conducive to sequences, such as the hyakushuuta, which consists of one hundred tankas.

The tanka, which comprised the majority of Japanese poetry from the ninth to the nineteenth century, is possibly the central genre of Japanese literature. It has prototypes in communal song, in oral literature dating back to the seventh century, or earlier. The earliest anthology of Japanese poetry, Man’yōshū (Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves, ca. 759), contains more than forty-two hundred poems in the tanka form. The form gradually developed into court poetry and became so popular that it marginalized all other forms.

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Paul Hankins (Feb 12 2021 6:51AM) : Mr. Hankins: Entry Points more

Think about narrator.

What is the setting (in every way we might think about setting)?

What allusions do we find within the short form?

Where is the poet employing a playful tone as evidenced by word play?

Where is the poet being a little more poignant within the piece?

What are the haiku doing within this piece?

What are the end lines doing?

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Feb 12
Paul Hankins (Feb 12 2021 6:54AM) : Mr. Hankins: Rules more

What has Mullen done in this piece that causes the reader to wonder after the title and the presentation. What do you discover upon closer inspection?

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