The tanaga is a Filipino poetry form. The earliest recorded tanaga poem is from the 16th century. Most of these poems are translated from their native language of Tagalog. It is a deceptively simple form. The traditional tanaga is a quatrain of seven-syllable lines. The syllable count looks like this: 7-7-7-7. It has an AABB rhyme scheme. Similar to the haiku, tanagas usually remain untitled, letting just the four lines hold all the weight of the poem. Modern variations of the tanaga allow for freer rhyme schemes such as ABAB, ABBA, ABAA, and occasionally even ABCD and AAAA. This poetry form is unfortunately on the brink of dying out, but there are fierce advocates of its use. We’re featuring it here to provide another outlet for its resurgence. Plus, it’s just fun!
Rules of Tanaga:
- It is a poem of four lines (quatrain)
- It is usually a rhyming poem
- Each line contains seven syllables (7-7-7-7)
- AABB is the traditional rhyme scheme
- But variations in rhyme scheme are allowed
- Just have fun!