Tako Tanka Broadside

Not for sale

Tako Tanka
By Lani Martin, age 17

Octopus love is
More than eight arms and wider
than the vast sea. Their
swimming fills their three hearts with
joy, whilst also filling mine.

Printed as part of the Words of Courage 2022 poetry broadside collection; a collaboration between Partners in Print, Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Writers in the Schools, and Seattle Children’s Hospital. Partial proceeds from the sale of this print will go to Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Illustrated with two reduction linocuts in nine separate impressions. A Japanese tanka is a lyrical poem with 31 syllables expressing love and gratitude.

I was incredibly honored to print Lani’s poem, Tako Tanka. In a year that was stacked with so many challenges, this poem felt like a hug.
I was immediately drawn to Lani’s poem for many reason, one being that I am enamored with octopus. Octopus are really amazing creatures and Sierra Nelson, who worked with Lani on her poem, shared more facts and about cephalopods as well as insight into Lani’s writing process. I learned that a Japanese tanka is a lyrical poem with 31 syllables expressing love and gratitude.
I had a clear idea that I wanted to illustrate an octopus in its habitat, with arms reaching out as if she were dancing or offering an embrace. There is light filtering through water, highlighting the poems text. The image was created with two reduction linocuts in eight separate impressions.
The ninth impression was the type layer, which was printed on Boxcars deep relief photopolymer plate. I wanted to include Japanese Manga inspired typography in the title and I don’t have anything like that in my metal type collection.