Unsealing Our Secrets …#MeToo Poems by women and men

We are pleased to announce that the anthology that seemed to take forever to midwife into the world is being well received.

It’s available on Kindle and can be purchased from Amazon.com in hard copy. I’m not going to “give away” samples of the writing because I consider these stories to be too personal. My husband and I are proud of the finished product and we both offer a deep bow to each of the writers who share their secrets. We hope  their words will  give others the courage to unburden themselves in the many forums that become available.

Mobile Art … Follow my photos and art on Instagram

Digital art has taken the world by storm and I too am swept up in the phenomenon. Macrophotography is one of the most interesting movements in the field these days, especially since macro filters are inexpensive and easy to use on a smart phone.

It’s great fun to be able to zero in on a flower or insect to see what’s really going on there. I sent away for several filters until I found the one that was easiest to use. There are many sites on Instagram that feature high quality macro captures such as macrocolique, top_macro, explore_macro and many others.

Aside from macro photography, I love to do florals, portraits and street scenes, not to mention landscapes. Art is happening everywhere. Life is an ever changing canvas and for as long as I’m able, I’ll be out there shooting. Follow me on Instagram @tankaqueen and while you’re at it, go out and shoot something yourself. It’s a great way to spend one’s time.



Unsealing our Secrets, MeToo Anthology Coming Soon on Kindle

Update on MeToo anthology–Unsealing Our Secrets…Robert is working on the Index. I need to go over one more draft checking for typos, etc. M.Kei, ed. of Atlas Poetica, wrote a thoughtful afterword for which we are grateful. All these things take time and I appreciate your patience. It is a book well worth waiting for and we hope to have it on Kindle mid April, and then in hard copy two weeks later.

MeToo+ Anthology is Coming Along … Figure Sometime This Bring

The anthology will feature a wide array of voices, both female and male. Despite the difficult subject matter, I am happy with how it’s coming together.  So many brave people sharing their experiences, from early child and into adulthood. As soon as I go over the poems for one more read, I will send the poems out to the poets to make sure their poems read as they wish. If you haven’t sent me your city/state/country as well as your one-line bio, they will not appear in the anthology.

Haibun Guidelines by Roberta Beary

After having received dozens of haibun for the MeToo+ anthology, and regretting those pieces I could not accept because the haiku was too closely related to the prose, I asked Roberta if I could share her excellent piece on the subject. As you may or may not know, Roberta is haibun editor for Modern Haiku. I myself have learned so much from her.


The Lost Weekend: An editor’s brief perspective
on haibun submissions as viewed through
the prism of film noir titles

by Roberta Beary

Failing to submit your best work may make your submission dead on arrival. If you feel your haibun lacks a certain something, and you hope an editor will supply whatever is missing, you are mistaken. Even editors who are willing to provide comments will not do this as the norm but as the exception. Keep polishing your haibun until it glows in the dark. Then submit it as your best work.

Sorry, Wrong Number

In haibun, the wrong title is like a wrong number. It makes the reader want to hang up the phone. A haibun’s title should be strong enough to draw the reader into the prose and make the reader want more. Let the title be a link to the prose and the haiku, not give away the rest of the piece. After reading the entire haibun, the reader should be able to look at the title and see more than one meaning.

Nightmare Alley

The present tense and short sentences work best for the prose of the haibun. Simple writing is also the most effective. Avoid rambling sentences and hyperbole. You don’t want to make the reader feel as if he or she has stumbled into nightmare alley. Do not confuse the prose of haibun with poetry. They are not the same.


A good haibun should leave the reader spellbound. If you cannot quite get to spellbound, try for mystery. Do not set everything out in black and white. Leave a bit of gray so there is room for the reader to maneuver among the written words. The title should set the stage; the prose should show but not tell. The haiku should reflect or expand the prose, not repeat it. When your haibun read in its entirely is subject to more than one interpretation, you are on the right track.


Your reputation as a haibun writer is something to be valued. Failing to keep track of your haibun submissions makes you look bad when two editors accept the same work. “Not previously published” means just that. It does not mean, “I don’t remember submitting it anywhere else.” Similarly, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” does not apply to haibun submissions. The work you submit, whether it places the reader squarely on Mystery Street or puts the reader into The Big Sleep, must be your own.

Farewell, My Lovely

Finally, before you press send or drop the envelope in the slot, read the rules for submission. Doing so will ensure the editor will give your work a thoughtful reading.

—Previously published in frogpond (34:3, 2011); appears here with author’s permission

Latest Update on MeToo+ Anthology

The deadline has passed. To all   poets who trusted me with their work, I thank you.  I’m sure much of the world will, too, except of course for those  who think yoga pants are the reason why men have the right to take advantage of women.

Both male and females from many countries bravely sent in their poems, most  previously unpublished.

Much of my time now is spent putting together this important piece of work. There are many details to consider, therefore, I ask for  patience. I’ve decided to publish the anthology  myself and will make it available on Kindle and other venues hopefully by spring.

As I considered submissions, I tried  to help a number of writers hone in on their  experiences by suggesting minor as well as major edits, some of which were not readily embraced. One of the biggest challenges in putting together  such a personal collection was trying to get poets to tell their secrets in more specific ways. Vaguely written poems  are only hinting at what really happens and there has been enough fog and Neptunian clouds floating around  relating to sexual abuse for far too long.

I feel in my deepest heart that when we tell our stories, we in some way make our perpetrators responsible and they do get the message, whether they’re still on earth or in spirit form. The more specific we are, the easier it is to hit our target, whether it be our parent, grandparent, stranger or boss. Not to mention those who are on the edge of taking advantage of another person.

One of the major issues I encountered  in selecting poems relates  to the haibun form. They aren’t easy to write, not even by those who’ve published repeatedly in major journals. I myself have struggled with haibun and will no doubt continue to do so.  A person can be a great writer with tremendous powerful stories under their belt, but if the haiku(s) or tanka(s) are too concretely related to the prose, then the piece, as an art form,  loses integrity. I was tempted at times to throw in the towel and not continue to coax writers to reconsider, but the bottom line is I couldn’t let a haibun out the door  without the proper hat…too many master haibun writers were sitting on my shoulder taking me to task.

All contributors will be notified via email when the MeToo+ anthology is made public. I will make it known on social media and elsewhere. Until then, I wish all those in the northern hemisphere a creative spring and for those who live under an entirely different constellation, enjoy the new season.





















February 15, MeToo,YouToo+ Deadline

A few more days remain for you to submit your MeToo experiences written in Japanese related poems in English. I am looking for fresh material, not just vague haiku that have been already published.  If the reader has to ask questions about the experience, chances are the poem lacks energy.

Please, if you see that your accepted piece needs further editing (e.g., punctuation, contractions), resend the entire piece.

Here are the guidelines again. I will not read any material sent after February 15.


Here’s your chance to share experiences about sexual harassment and abuse. This anthology is open to everyone regardless of sex,  but all poems must be written in haiku (no five seven five please unless you’re one of the few who has mastered the 17-syllable form), senryu, tanka, tanka prose, haibun or cherita forms. No exceptions. Submit no more than five published or  unpublished poems at one time. Please do not send in attachment form. If poems are published, please send credits.

Poems must be high caliber, well crafted. Anonymous poems and pen names okay, if that is the only way you’ll  consider sharing. I’m looking for honest experiences, not cleverness. If  feelings are vague, chances are the poems will be, too. I have received numerous submissions that talk about feelings and while emotion is the  tether cord of a poem, there’s nothing like imagery and specifics to bring the experience alive. Please write in the present tense . I cannot write your story for you; if you’re  having a difficult time sharing, perhaps a writer-friend can assist. While your experience needs to be true to your remembrance, the poem also needs to take into consideration that writing is an art form.

I  receive submissions from men although it seems more difficult for males to come forward. With all  the people coming forth in the media to report sexual misconduct, it seems to be giving writers a bit more courage to tell their stories. We’re  making history–we’re part of a cleansing whose time has come. There has been male/male abuse as well as female/female abuse–it’s not just about males hurting females…females hurt men, too, even as little children.  And while certain people have written saying they’re worried  so many men will lose their jobs, that trials are necessary, I say to them: wake up. Touching someone’s breast or hurting them with sexual slurs is abuse. As long as we live, we never forget being spoken to as though we were someone’s property and that pat on the fanny that men used to get away with, e.g., George Bush, Sr.  We need to stop protecting people who have a warped sense of boundaries.


Send poems to akrotella@gmail.com.