Moira Richards & Sanford Goldstein 

I have enjoyed reading Sanford Goldstein's tanka and hearing his conversation about tanka on various email lists. I admire his work because he makes space in tanka for all and every aspect of life, and not only the 'lofty' moments and thoughts. Yet he insists too, on integrity in the crafting of the form and brooks no sloppiness in the writing. For me his approach has lit a refreshing, liberating and rewarding path through the (sometimes) minefield of tanka.

I also appreciated Sanford Goldstein's tanka string in The Tanka Journal #26 in tribute to Father Lawrence, but I thought it a little sad that the Father was not able to read it. I thought I might one day, hopefully in the far-off future, be moved to make such a tribute for Sanford. So, rather than leave it too late, I compiled one straight away and sent it to him in good time for him to read.

It is a sort-of string cobbled together from various bits of email correspondence between us with some others of Sanford's published tanka. It is not intended as an obituary nor as a death eulogy but as a life eulogy.

To read an interview with Sanford Goldstein click here.




conversation at the door of Sand


and his essay finished,
he stands
at the Door of Sand
without his pail and shovel

cast to the seas
my three short lines
in a cape wine bottle

the drunk sailor opens it,
curses, he expected a tanka

dear sour-puss
at the door of sand -
I scratch your ears
and tickle your tum and hope
to elicit a purr from you

that chewing is an art
for health,
I manage 7l even on an
inch of carrot

out for lunch
and trying to keep
my chew-score high,
find it difficult
to join in the criticism

such cruel choice,
this choosing of chews!
when chews be enough
for his carrots alas,
none be left to chew the fat

though Jewish,
I am going to be
a chew-ish missionary:
thirty chews for each bite
and even Alzheimers may convert

ah, Time!
sprinkle sparingly
the sand of gold
that gilds my walk
along his tanka road

that cliché
of how old age tells
on a person –
still, if you halt the whirling dance,
I'll reveal what old age tells me


Note: This is a collaborative tanka/tanrenga string. Italicized type indicates sections belonging to Moira Richards; standard type indicates sections belonging to Sanford Goldstein.



Google 'Moira Richards' to find links to her essays on Women Abuse, her reviews of woman-authored books as well as to other writing and editing work she does for various print and e-publications. She can often be found lounging about the staff rooms of, and - usually sipping tea, sometimes Jack Daniels.

Sanford Goldstein is a Professor Emeritus of Purdue University in Indiana and a professor Emeritus of a small college in Japan, where he now lives.  He has been writing tanka for more than forty-years and is co-translator of several Japanese novels and tanka collections.