Welcome to episode 23 of the haiku chronicle podcast.
What’s it all about? Well, it’s a podcast in which I share what I am learning in my endeavour to understand haiku and become a better haiku writer and I showcase other writers of haiku. You can find links and resources that I have found helpful on the website
This week’s podcast is going to be a little bit different to the norm. It’s the breakfast special. whoo hoo! More about that in a moment.
First of all I want to say a big congratulations to Goran who was our special guest on episode 11. He has been writing some beautiful haiku and recently was featured in The Wild Plum and the Wales haiku journal. Congrats Goran! What an inspiration!
Next, for those of you living on the north side of Brisbane, Australia, one of our lovely guests, Giddy Nielsen Sweep, is starting a haiku group. The Bombora haiku group. It’s beginning tomorrow, the 24th of April, it’s a bit short notice but if you want to join her group I’m sure you’ll be most welcome. You can find her on google+ and twitter or contact me via the website and I’ll put you in touch. Giddy has been most encouraging to me. If I lived near her, I would definitely join.
Now, who has read The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac?
I finished it just before my travels. I had tried his novel “on the road” in the past, but had not been able to finish it, in fact if I remember rightly, I barely got started. However, I have been enjoying his haiku and had read that The Dharma Bums was cram packed with haiku. So, inspired by a quote by John Suter, “Don’t read Kerouac when you are young. Read him as you join that long death march called steady employment. Then look back.” I thought I would give it a go.
I got on with it much better than I had with “on the road”, perhaps age was necessary. A strange longing to go back to my youth and make more of it came upon me. I have long planned a world tour and now I am itching to get on with it…if only I could.
Putting aside the attitude towards women, much of the novel was interesting poetically and historically. A city person, yet fan of the outdoors myself, I enjoyed the time he spent describing his dalliance with nature and the contrast between that and the time he spent in the city. His characters, who were based on real life friends were full bodied. I enjoyed learning about them and being able to put what he said into an historical context made the read quite pleasurable.
Within the text I came across a portion that I really wanted to share with you:
The character Japhy Ryder (Gary Snyder) says the following:
“A real haiku’s gotta be as simple as porridge and yet you see the real thing, like the greatest haiku of them all probably is the one that goes,
hops along the veranda
with wet feet
Is this the greatest haiku ever? I don’t know myself, but it fills me with joy. What is your favourite haiku?
Simple as porridge, a relatively neat segway into todays breakfast special haiku and senryu.
Where did the idea come from? I think I may have already said, but I was sitting in the breakfast room in an hotel in Seville people watching. The buffet was substantial and the clientele culturally very mixed. I was interested in the difference between the various cultures in the way they ate their breakfast. Mine was very fruit based, then as a second course on a separate plate, I treated myself to some delicious pastries, washed down with hot chocolate. A continental habit I have picked up since I left the UK. Others took a very different approach and put all their courses on one plate. I wondered why that was. Could it be that it was a time saver, or that some people had no idea what they had picked up, whether they had chosen savoury or sweet…. and so I pondered…
I wanted to learn what other cultures ate for breakfast. And so the breakfast special was born…
Here’s another first for the Haiku Chronicle podcast Submissions from twins!
Katryn and Veronica. You surely remember Veronica from episode 17?
Here we have their haiku:
early morn wake up
bacon and eggs on the stove
but where’s the coffee?
You’ll know why I was initially drawn to this when you hear the final haiku for today.
On reading it, I really like the use of the question in the final line. It added a new dimension to it. I feel more educational reading coming on.
cereal in bowl
forgotten working on verse
leaves stomach empty
I know the feeling. Although in my case it used to be cereal left because I had to do the school run. It expresses an experience most people can identify with, don’t you think?
Next a haiku writer, new to the podcast.
Courtney O’Banion Smith. Based in the US, she is currently a stay at home Mum who plans to go back to teaching literature and writing when her youngest son starts school. I asked her about her thoughts on the haiku form. Her submitted haiku had taken the 5/7/5 form and I was interested to know if she had ever experimented. to which she replied: “I typically am a traditionalist in that regard. However, as a writer of haiku and senryu, I enjoy nontraditional approaches to the form, and I’m not a stickler when it comes to content. I see the 5-7-5 syllabic restriction as a frame that dictates and inspires the poem. It’s the beginning and the end of the poem. For me, the goal is to simultaneously make the frame beautiful and make the reader forget it’s there. Like a designer uses a mannequin, I can hang only so much on the frame before the piece becomes gaudy or overwrought. I also enjoy playing with sounds in my haiku, which is hard to pull off within such a tight structure without coming across as pedantic or sentimental.”
We virtually discussed this haiku:
This is the original:
brown toast crumbs fall from
the blue bud unfurling in
the shiny white plate
I could easily see the toast crumbs falling from the bud, both metaphorically and in actuality. It was superbly visual. After our interaction Courtney revisited her haiku and sent me this:
on the plate, a blue
which I think I actually prefer, because I can exercise my imagination a little more, yet I get the same result. What do you think?
And here is another of Courtney’s haiku:
Chatter of boys at the
breakfast table, squirrels and
birds at the feeder
I felt I was sitting at her table, half listening to the chatter of the boys and enjoying the view through the window to the feeder. I could feel Courtney’s love of both her family and nature coming through very strongly. Can you?
If you would like to read more from Courtney you can find her Chapbook, Abundance by clicking here
Now we are off to Australia to visit Giddy. I have never tried vegemite, but a couple of my children have spent time in Australia and tell me it is very like marmite, a staple in the UK, which you either love or hate. I love it.
an iconic breakfast
vegemite on toast
and here we join Giddy at the breakfast table
a favourite on toast
last but not least, off to South Africa. I read this one line haiku on google plus and asked Gabri Rigotti if I could use it. Happily he agreed. It was not written to the topic of breakfast, but it reminded me of walking up to my mum and dad’s house on a Sunday morning, after I had left home. There would always be a traditional full Irish breakfast on the go, with a strong bacon aroma. So this touched my heart…
morning stroll there is bacon in the air
Now for me. Actually it was quite a difficult one, so I really appreciate everyone who joined me in the challenge. I thought about countering Giddy’s vegemite with a marmite related haiku, but nothing came to me. Eventually after much consideration I went with these, which I know need work:
bike ride to the bakers
because once the weather improves enough, ie the snow disappears, I love to ride my bike and as a special treat on a Sunday my partner and I ride to the next village where we buy ourselves a pastry treat and come home and eat it with apricot jam… which we eat on the patio
cover the patio
ant ant ant
Thanks so much for joining me this week. I have loved receiving and reading all the haiku submissions for this breakfast challenge. Thanks so much to all my haijin.
Next challenge: Memories.
Deadline May 23rd, so please get writing. You will find my email via the poetrypea website.
When you send your submission please tell me a little about the memory, but only what you would like me to use on the podcast.
I’ll see you back her next Monday. Take care til then…
How to contact Courtney O’Banion Smith:
She posts original haiku or senryu featuring Dictionary.com‘s Word of the Day using the hashtag #WotDHaiku.