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Per Diem Archive: S. C. Baker July 2014, Recipe Haiku

Recipe Haiku

List (or catalogue) poetry has been around for thousands of years, with examples to be found in poets and texts as diverse as Homer, the Old Testament, Shakespeare's sonnets, Walt Whitman, and Allen Ginsberg. List poetry isn't a form, per se; it's more of a technique, a poetic effect achieved by the listing and arrangement of disparate elements. In Homer, that tends to the epic, with a catalogue of ships in The Iliad which numbers in the hundreds of lines. Shakespeare catalogues his mistress' body parts in order to deflate poetic clichés in sonnet 130, "My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun." Whitman uses the technique often to try and show the vast, uncataloguable—and often contradictory—glory of the America he loved, while Ginsberg's treatment in "Howl" does more or less the opposite.

These so-called "recipe" haiku, though, are about rather more humble topics: food, eating, and recipes. As I was making my selections, I tried to find haiku which contained metaphorical as well as literal ingredients. How do tornadoes affect the taste of tea? Exile the taste of coffee? Can you mix pills with dusk? And so on. Thoughts like this often provoke me when reading haiku, where so much of the experience presented has to be inferred by the reader. The poets featured in this collection hail from all over the world, and that too is a sort of recipe. I hope you find the result as pleasing as I do.

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Author: Margaret Dornaus
alphabet soup
I practice cradling love 
in a stainless spoon
Author: Kij Johnson
bitter and dark
the taste of
no tea
Author: Susan Constable
their marriage
not what it used to be . . . 
soup and salad
Author: Seánan Forbes
"We'll discuss it later."
I stir tornadoes
in my tea
Author: Fay Aoyagi
simmering tofu—
father asks where I intend
to be buried
Author: Scott Mason
sautéed fiddleheads
    dinner begins
       with grace 
Author: Michael Dylan Welch
after-dinner mints
passed around the table
. . . slow-falling snow 
Author: Alan Summers
lullaby of rain
another pinch of saffron
in the pumpkin soup 
Author: John McManus
the child inside her turns wild mustard
Author: Bob Lucky
an old argument . . . 
scraping the burned rice
out of the pot
Author: Dawn Bruce
outdoor cafe
two grey heads bowed over
one bowl of noodles
Author: Kirsten Cliff Elliot
blue moon . . .
I hide behind these
onion tears
Author: Sonam Chhoki
between sips
of warm ara …
harvest moon
Author: S. M. Abeles
the first bite
is all I want
wild pear
Author: Conrad Bishop
the Holocaust
and morning coffee
bind two old friends  
Author: Ikumi (Ikuyo Yoshimura)
dusk brightens
the smoke of baked shells -
autumn shores
Author: Ernesto P. Santiago
hot & sour fish soup –
all the right ingredients
stirring up the moon
Author: Adelaide B. Shaw
bubbling vats of cheese–
a slice of sunlight shines
through a high window 
Author: Johannes S. H. Bjerg
1:1 ratio the white pills and dusk
Author: Merrill Ann Gonzales
slicing red peppers –
the secret
I can’t tell
Author: Tzetzka Ilieva
summer solstice –
rain drops dilute
my father's grappa
Author: an'ya
holiday stains
on an old recipe card
nana's DNA 
Author: Deborah P Kolodji
long night moon…
green lipped mussels
with garlic
Author: Chen-ou Liu
a bowl of congee
next to a cup of coffee...
exile and after
Author: Sergio Ortiz
milk dawn gone then risen
Author: Marion Clarke
breakfast al fresco ...
the cold hard stare
of a marmalade cat
Author: Marion Alice Poirier
Sunday ritual
the spices and tomatoes
of Mama's gravy
Author: Ashley Capes
sidewalk café
I listen to the swell
of English accents
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