Tuesday, February 14, 2012

H. Gene Murtha - Three Questions (Tanka)

H. Gene Murtha, a naturalist and poet, was born on October 19, 1955 under the sign of Libra in Philadelphia, Pa. He has won or placed high in a number of haikai contest around the world. Gene sponsored and judged the first haiku contest for the inner city children of Camden, NJ., for the Virgilio Group, of which he is an lifetime member. With renku partners Bill (Wm. J.) Higginson and Paul MacNeil, he is co-inventor of the single-words shisan renku entitled, Cobweb. His memberships include the Pennsylvania Poetry Society, Mad Poets Society, The Haiku Society of America, and the Nick Virgilio Haiku Association.



1) Why do you write tanka?

Good question Curtis.  I have no idea.  Once I sit down and the ball of my pen hits a piece of paper until the moment my right hand stops, I have know idea what form or genre that I have written.  Normally, I wait for a poem to come to me, then, it is up to the poet gods what form my words unfold.

2) What other poetic forms do you enjoy?

Spoken word, free form and every Japanese genre.

3) Of the many wonderful tanka you’ve written, what do you consider to be your top three?

I do not have three favorite poems, every poem that I written is important to me for one reason or another.  I've enclosed more than 3 poems, so you can select whatever poems you wish.


in my pickup
I look thru the rearview
snagged by a pin oak
the same garbage that
Hilary Tann writes about

Hermitage 3:1


brushing off sand
I walk what's left of
the pine dunes
my time here passes by
like the birds overhead

Ribbons 5:2


people change
like the color of
a bunting
I feel at peace
when I'm alone

Rusty Tea Kettle 1:1


Sunday morning
reading the obituaries
calling daddy
the same name
Sylvia Plath does

Rusty Tea Kettle 1:1


I sold everything
except my navajo cross
so precious
this god I hold dear
the same god I gave up

Ribbons 6:1



If you are enjoying this series and have not contributed, please consider sharing your response - whether it be for haibun, haiku or tanka - to the three questions that Gene answered. You must be a published poet to participate.

9 comments:

Jane Reichhold said...

Gene,
So good to see you here and to see your photo - looking good, guy! Was delighted to have so many of your tanka in one place. You really need to collect them. Thanks for this taste of your tanka! and to Curtis for getting you here.
\o/ Jane

Carole said...

I have always loved your poetic voice, Gene. Hard to pick a favorite from this wonderful selection of tanka. All of these are wonderful, but that last one, well I can't put into words how much I like it. But it's long been a favorite. Gives me goosebumps. Keep on working with those 'poet gods' so we can continue to hear your voice.

Carlos Colon said...

Fine poems, Gene. My favs. "in my pickup" and "I sold everything."

_kala said...

Lovely to read your tanka poems, Gene.
Kala Ramesh

Alan Summers said...

I enjoyed all the tanka, and my favourite has to be this one:

Sunday morning
reading the obituaries
calling daddy
the same name
Sylvia Plath does

Good to see a number of Gene's tanka all together.

Alan

Terri L. French said...

Good to see you on "the Road" Gene. All wonderful tanka, but that last one really hits home for me.

Gene Murtha said...

thank you all for visiting me, and the last tanka was very important to
me. although I finally had to sell my Navajo cross to a local, but it is good hands I hear. gene

Don Baird said...

Hey Gene! This is a wonderful set of tanka. I would fear picking just one as a favorite so I pick them all!

Keep 'em coming, buddy!

Gene Murtha said...

thank you very much folks, with love, always,

gene