Writers of tanka at the Japanese Heian Court (roughly 800 – 1100 AD) often made references to Chinese poetry. It was a way to establish their erudition and status, for education of the period meant study of the Chinese classics.
The tanka in Blackbird’s Throat also refer to Chinese verse, either ancient or contemporary. While my knowledge of Chinese poetry is elementary, I found that linking with it added depth to my poems, layers of history and beauty I would be unable to match using only my own words.
The tanka are based on a trip to China with fellow teacher Terry Ann Carter. We were helping secondary school teachers with English language teaching methods.
An appendix is alphabetized according to the first lines of the poems, and the Chinese poems referred to.