By Margaret Chula
Illustrations by Jef Gunn
6 x 9, 112 pages      $14.00
ISBN 1-893996-11-5

More lyrical than haiku, the ancient five- line tanka embrace moments of love, loss, and longing as well as the more humorous events of our lives.

the black negligee
that I bought for your return
hangs in my closet
day by day plums ripen
and are picked clean by birds

back in Japan
I visit my teacher
in the Alzheimer’s home
who is this old woman
smiling, smiling?

of last summer’s fire
I bless our new house
with a wand of burning sage
— bucket of water nearby


‘These tanka blend present concern and acute perception with the grace and aesthetics of the tradition and the finely honed language of modern poetics.’

William J. Higginson, The Haiku Handbook

‘In this world where we have come more and more to see that each thing touches every other, this book is welcome proof of the universality and particularity of the human spirit.’

Jane Hirshfield, from the Preface


Always Filling, Always Full portrays the poet’s emotional expressions of joy, love, and sadness in an outburst of nature. It shows the tanka form in significant ways, but also displays language and imagery as the poet’s own. Here the poet speaks to her beliefs, which are human, concise, and timeless.’

Makoto Ueda, Modern Japanese Tanka