If the English have sonnets, Japanese have tankas and haikus, Koreans have sijos, then Filipinos have tanagas.
Tanaga is a short Filipino poem. Just like haiku, tanaga usually does not bear a title as the form should already depict vivid images or speak for itself. Some known works were transferred orally and do have proverbial forms, moral lessons, and snippets of a code of ethics. It is known to be one of the oldest forms of poetry in the Philippines.
Tanaga is structured with four lines with each line containing seven syllables.
Usually, lines should end with same rhyme. The form looks like 7-7-7-7 with an AAAA rhyme scheme, although modern poets do create varying rhyme forms (ABAB, AABB, ABBA) or free verse (AAAB, BAAA, or ABCD).
Ideally, tanaga should be written in Tagalog or other Filipino dialects, but it is now also written in other languages like English.
It is considered as a dying art form but is being revived by several institutions including the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the National Center for Culture and Arts. Various poetry websites have also highlighted tanaga as a unique and great Filipino poetry form.
I am a fan of Tanaga and use it to express quickly short thoughts, and narrate everyday experiences or an artful way of sending messages to someone.
The form is short enough and suitable to the 160 character limit of SMS messages or in Twitter, Facebook status posts or a small post-it note.
Tanaga can be made to be found anywhere.
I hope you will help me populate the new Tanaga sections here at emanilapoetry. Our posts will surely go a long way in reviving Tanaga!
Here are samples of poems in Tanaga:
Pagbuhay ng Tanaga
Sarili nating sining
Na kilanli’y nalibing.
Kaya’t akin nang hiling
Ibig dito’y, magturing!
I point this to our own art
Where repute was took apart
So now this wish, I impart,
May it be fond to your heart!
Team Emanila Notes: The above post is the initial post in starting “Tanaga”, a new section under Tulang Pinoy in emanilapoetry. For those who wish to post to this section, kindly observe the rules.Latest posts by Eladio Abquina