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Per Diem for July 2014: Recipe Haiku

It’s not quite what you might think: Per Diem for July takes a look at a very specific technique utilized in world poetry throughout the ages, as guest editor Stewart C. Baker explains:

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’s 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 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.

These poems will bring your attention to that most necessary activity for all of us, taking sustenance. Enjoy!

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Here are some earlier ones of mine on the topic and one from this year. Most people won’t have seen them, I imagine. 😉

    an aspirin rises
    in my orange juice

    -first published in Kokako 5 (NZ) September 2006

    the taste of chilled wine
    from a clay cup

    Sakura Award, 2nd Annual Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, 2007

    pomegranate seeds
    the tang of her secret
    on my tongue

    Famous Reporter (Australia) December 2007

    mother’s secrets …
    I prise open
    a dozen oysters

    1st Prize 2014 FreeXpresSion Haiku Comp (Australia)

    – Lorin

  2. Two haiku-drinks:

    long path
    we stop and chatter
    before our coffee

    wintry sun
    subtle regrets
    melted in wine

    (From: “Autumn Rose”)

  3. .
    An interesting topic!

    I was surprised at how many food haiku I’ve written, and I even have a recipe for poetry writers called Poetry and Rosehip Curry.

    Here’s two haiku about street vendors:

    Oxford Street
    the sweet chestnut vendor’s
    blackened fingers

    Alan Summers
    Publications credits: Snapshot Press Calendar 2011
    Award credit: Runner up, Snapshot Press Haiku Calendar 2010

    two boys giggle
    as he enters the bike shop …
    the onion seller

    Alan Summers
    Publications credits: Blithe Spirit vol. 11 no. 3 (2001); Stepping Stones:  a way into haiku (British Haiku Society 2007): The Haiku Foundation’s Per Diem: Daily Haiku December 2012: Children


    And a sad one about food, but I helped the situation get turned around:

    sultry evening
    liquid from the take out bag
    runs near the victim

    Alan Summers
    Publications credits: World Haiku Review vol 2: Issue 3 (2002); Does Fish-God Know (Yet To Be Named Free Press 2012)


    And as sushi has been mentioned here’s one about my favorite sushi bar at Bath Spa Train Station where I’ve organised various haiku and renku events and workshops:

    dark morning…
    the sushi bar opens up
    for the train station

    Alan Summers
    Publications credits: Aesthetics, (Bath Spa University 2007); Haiku Friends Vol. 3 (Japan 2009)


  4. Great! As ‘the hungry writer’ I am already banging my knife and fork on the haiku table in anticipation!

    market stall
    buying the smell
    of tomatoes

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