Jerome Berglund: Wishbone’s Sharp Crack

In Gratitude
Thanks to Peter Schmidt for buying me 5 coffees this month! I’m now 48% of the way to having my web hosting covered for the year. If you want to contribute financially, visit Contributors get a bonus recipe every month!

November Community Blog Post
I’m putting together another community blog post (view the May community post here).
Theme: Harvest
Deadline: 11:59 p.m. CST on Wednesday, November 23rd
Submission Form:
Notes: Haiku  in languages other than English are welcome; please provide a  translation. Experimental haiku are also welcome. If sending previously  published haiku, remember to provide publication credit.

More from Jerome Berglund
Buy Jerome’s haiku collection: and senryu from Fevers of the Mind: haiku in Dark Winter Literary Journal: haiga from Ice Floe Press: haiga in Lothlorein Poetry Journal:

Winter Updates
To read about my 2022 reflections and plans for 2023, read the newest blog post:

Theme Music
“J’attendrai” by Django Reinhardt,  performing at Cleveland Music Hall, 1939. This recording is in  the public domain. Hear the whole song at

The Season for Reflection and Rest

First, thanks to Peter Schmidt for buying me 5 coffees this month! I’m now 48% of the way to having my web hosting covered for the year.

Second, remember to send work for the Community Bonus Post at the end of the month. That will be the last blog post for 2022! Send your work via the Google Form by 11:59 pm CST on Wednesday, November 23rd.

When I started this project in the spring, I had no idea what shape it was going to take. Like many of my creative pursuits, I dove in headfirst, making it up as I went along, knowing I’d figure it out along the way. I’m also grateful that the blog and podcast have allowed me to stay connected to my creativity through a tumultuous second half of 2022, including a cross-country move, buying a house, and changing jobs twice. Moving in October, I felt the call to take a break. I wrote recently to a group of friends that, for most of my adult life, I’ve felt the desire to put life on pause from October through the new year. And pretty much every year, I’ve ignored that, pressuring myself to keep up with the pace of life I keep during the sunnier, warmer months. This year, though, I’m trying to honor that impulse. So I’m taking today to serve as a way to reflect on the project so far, and what my plans are for the future.

The Blog

On this site, I’ve experimented with a few different types of posts. My focus is sharing haiku others have written, along with my own commentary. Sometimes I focus on a specific type of food; sometimes I focus on a specific season; sometimes the post is more conceptual. I haven’t nailed down one specific approach because different ideas inspire different structures. That being said, I think I would like to maintain a more consistent structure in the future, and one of the things I’ll be doing during my project hiatus is considering the shape I want future posts to take. It’s hard to be in that planning mode when you’re in creation mode, so I’m looking forward to stepping back, letting my mind go fallow, and seeing what emerges. If there are particular structures or approaches that appeal to you, let me know in the comments!

I also enjoyed putting together the May community blog post, and am excited to be reading haiku for the November post as well. I’m considering making this a regular feature next year, either quarterly or every other month. If you have a preference, please let me know! While I ultimately have to shape this project around what works with the rest of my life, I also do want to know what interests people who read this blog.

The Podcast

Since launching the podcast in June, I’ve learned some of the basics of Garageband, finally settled on a theme song, and even experimented with different kinds of episodes. I modeled the show after long-form, open-conversation podcasts, which are the kind I most enjoy listening to. However, I also did one solo episode, and was surprised to find how much fun I had making it! And just as I enjoy doing the community blog posts, I loved putting the community open mic bonus podcast together. If I decided to make community blog posts every other month, I might do that for podcasts as well. Odd-numbered months could have a community blog post, and even-numbered months could have a community open mic. This idea is still percolating; I’ll see how it takes root during my hiatus.

The Future

The main thing I want to do during my creative break is take time to get organized. I’ve collected over 200 haiku at this point, and while my organization system on the whole is pretty solid, ever since buying and setting up the house, I haven’t done a great job keeping track of which haiku I have already used on the blog and podcast. I’m honestly excited to take a weekend afternoon and get everything reorganized.

I also want to put together the foundation for an eventual print manuscript. While I don’t imagine putting a print book together until at least 2024, the time to get organized is now. That means setting up a Scrivener file especially for the book project, getting a basic organizing scheme in place, and importing relevant blog or podcast content that I might want to revisit. While I know that a project of this length is going to evolve over time, giving myself a structure now will set me up for an easier time down the road.

In addition to the community blog post at the end of the month, I have two more podcast episodes lined up, and then I’m officially on hiatus until January. I hope you have a restful and creatively fulfilling winter season.

Huge thanks to everyone who has read this blog, commented on posts, and supported this project. It means a great deal to me that there are people interested in the work I’m doing here. I’m excited for what this project will yield in the new year.

Send haiku for the community blog post

With a bonus Tuesday in November, I decided I wanted to host another community blog post! (View the May community post here.) The first submission has already come in! I look forward to reading all the poems that come in and assembling them.

Theme: Harvest

Deadline: 11:59 p.m. CST on Wednesday, November 23rd

Submission Form:

Notes: Haiku in languages other than English are welcome; please provide a translation. Experimental haiku are also welcome. If sending previously published haiku, remember to provide publication credit.

Please reach out if you have questions, or if you have issues using the form.

Peter Schmidt: Cranberry Bites Back

In Gratitude
Thank you to M.A. Dubbs, who  bought me  three coffees in August! I’m now 35% of the way  toward my goal of  covering website costs for the year. Those who want to  support the  podcast financially can do so at:

November Community Blog Post
I’m putting together another community blog post (view the May community post here).
Theme: Harvest
Deadline: 11:59 p.m. CST on Wednesday, November 23rd
Submission Form:
Notes: Haiku in languages other than English are welcome; please provide a translation. Experimental haiku are also welcome. If sending previously published haiku, remember to provide publication credit.

More From Peter Schmidt
Read Peter’s haiku in the May community blog post:

Hear Peter’s haiku in the podcast community open mic:

Read Peter’s contest-winning poem here:

Verbing Weirds Language
View the Calvin & Hobbes strip we referenced here:

Theme Music
“J’attendrai” by Django Reinhardt, performing at Cleveland Music Hall, 1939. This recording is in the public domain. Hear the whole song at

Rethinking the Seasons

Rather than do a typical haiku commentary post, this week, I wanted to reflect on the ways in which my commitment to haiku practice over the past few months has impacted my perception of the seasons as I experience them. It’s been seven months since I launched this project, and while my haiku practice and saijiki study go beyond the scope of food, the framework of this blog and podcast is where I come to work out my ongoing understanding of kigo.

I’ve written elsewhere on the blog (my intro post is just one example) about how my direct experience of the seasons doesn’t always line up with what the Gregorian calendar says. This was in part influenced by geography (Cleveland has long winters, Austin has even longer summers), but also a sense that dividing the seasons according to equinoxes and solstices didn’t truly account for the way the climate felt.

One of the reasons I was intrigued by the haiku (lunar) calendar was because the seasons all began roughly six weeks earlier than I was accustomed to; the equinoxes and solstices were in the middle of the seasons, rather than the initiation point for each season. As I’ve delved into this seasonal exploration, I stumbled across Naturalist Weekly, a blog which, among other things, talks about the 72 micro-seasons. While I think micro-seasons vary from climate to climate, I think they are a fascinating framework for how to study and experience one’s own surroundings, and I’m brainstorming with ways to work with micro-seasons in 2023.

This year’s study of saijiki and kigo has shown me a great deal of how I experience the seasons. The biggest takeaway for me is that the way I perceive the changes in time relates to fluctuations in daylight. On some level, I’ve known this for a while. My last few years in Cleveland, I struggled a great deal with seasonal depression. Living in Austin, I didn’t struggle quite as much because it wasn’t as cold, but I also noticed I felt demoralized by the lack of daylight. Both ends of daylight savings time make me feel jetlagged, and when it ends in the fall, that abrupt plunge into early darkness is really rough on me.

The author in front of a waterfall in Ohio.
Slightly under-dressed for a Thanksgiving visit to Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

In December 2019, I also observed that while the Gregorian late autumn (ranging from mid-October to the winter solstice) is particularly tough for me, I start thriving again fairly early in January. While many people I know struggle through the cold, snowy first quarter of the year, my mood and motivation are consistently on the upswing. Maybe it’s because I love what New Year’s symbolizes (even though my celebrations are a lot more toned down than they used to be), and that gives me a mental boost. But I think there’s something more, and it’s that even though the days are still short and the nights are still long, it’s already getting brighter. And my body is well-aware of the gradually increasing days.

In the haiku calendar, winter starts more or less on November 5th. The lunar New Year generally takes place in early February, with actual celebration periods varying based on the specific traditions of Asian countries. The New Year period gives way to spring during a time that is still solidly winter based on the Gregorian calendar.

The author standing on a mountain in Mexico
A January day in Real de Catorce, Mexico. Even 9,000 feet up, it was fairly warm in the daylight.

As I wrote back in that initial blog post, I was flummoxed by how spring could start in February, when everything is still snowy and dormant. Yet the first blossoms of the calendar year aren’t that far off. But what I think is more significant is that the days are getting incrementally longer.

Based on the haiku calendar, the December solstice is the middle of winter, and is the official turning point, sending us down the path to spring. So while a few months ago, I was flummoxed by February being considered a spring month, when I think about the increase in available daylight, it makes total sense.

Even if it’s a struggle for me to classify November as winter instead of autumn, ultimately, the seasonal label doesn’t matter as much. What’s important to me is the insight of how the changes in daylight affect my body, mind, and spirit. And I don’t know if I would have come to that conclusion if I hadn’t embarked on this process in my poetry.

(But . . . can we do away with DST already? Or keep it. I don’t care. Let’s just pick one and stop switching the clocks twice a year, okay?)

M.A. Dubbs: Pink Tamales

In Gratitude
Thank you to Lorraine who  bought me three coffees in August! I’m now 28% of the way  toward my goal of covering website costs for the year. Those who want to  support the podcast financially can do so at:

More from M.A. Dubbs

Failed Haiku Food Issue
You can find the May 2022 Failed Haiku issue themed around food here:

Theme Music
“J’attendrai” by Django Reinhardt,   performing at Cleveland Music Hall, 1939. This recording is in   the public domain. Hear the whole song at

Dining Together

Thanks to Lorraine for the contribution of three coffees! I’ve now covered 28% of my web hosting costs for the year. I’ll be releasing the October bonus recipe next week, so if you want to make a contribution, now’s your chance!

The turn of autumn has me thinking about people gathering together to eat. Maybe it’s because I finally cooked a serious meal (French onion soup) in our new home. Maybe it’s because John’s birthday is just around the corner. Maybe it’s because I’m experiencing my first real autumn in over a decade, and the feelings of coziness it inspires. Either way, I decided to explore haiku in my collection that in some way reflect eating together. Oddly enough, only one of those haiku has a seasonal referent, and it’s summer! The rest best fit in the all-year category. But as always, these posts reflect my collection of food haiku and senryu at a particular moment in time; if I revisit this topic in a year, the seasonal distribution might look entirely different.

All Year

outside the food bank
a ragman shares his crust
with a sparrow

Kim Goldberg, Charlotte DiGregorio’s Writer’s Blog

Kim Goldberg has written an exceptionally tender haiku. Here is a man with next to nothing, yet still has it in his heart to share what little he does have with a small sparrow. While I’d initially intended for this post to focus on haiku about people eating together, I added this poem to the database early in this project, and I kept coming back to it as I was deciding what to write about this week. Per Higginson’s Haiku World, “sparrow” is an all-year term, and I don’t see any other seasonal referent, making it an all-year poem.

black spatula on black frying pan
Photo by Caio on

lover’s quarrel
a bit of shell
in the omelet

Jim Kacian, Kingfisher 3

This poem can be read a few different ways. First, the quarrel could be caused by the presence of a shell in the omelet. Second, the couple could have been quarreling, and the person who made the omelet leaves the shell in as a bit of passive-aggressive revenge. In a third interpretation, the person making the omelet is so flustered by the argument that they let the shell slip in unnoticed. Although there is no seasonal referent, this is nonetheless a poem that opens itself up to the imagination, which is one of my favorite things about a well-wrought haiku.

re-opening . . .
the server remembers
my standing order

Barry Levine, Prune Juice #35

There is something about being a regular at a restaurant that feels special. Yes, the restaurant is part of your routine, but it’s that sense of consistency, the knowledge that the servers see dozens (if not hundreds) of people a day, and yet they still know who you are, and what you like to order. (Cue the Cheers theme song . . .) Barry Levine heightens that feeling by writing this poem in the COVID era. The restaurant has probably been closed for at least three months, maybe six, maybe even a whole year. Yet the server is still there, and that person still remembers. Because re-openings were different everywhere, there’s no seasonal referent in this poem, but that doesn’t make it any less heartwarming.

close up of coffee cup
Photo by Chevanon Photography on

tea tree swamp
weary workers pause
to boil their billy

Louise Hopewell, Echnidna Tracks #9

I placed this poem in the all-year category, though I admit that my lack of knowledge about the southern hemisphere might be interfering with my understanding of the poem. This haiku required some research on my end. To “boil their billy” means to make tea. Here, we see laborers taking a pause to rest and enjoy some tea. Tea-drinkers tend to drink it all year, workers tend to work year-round, and thus I placed this poem all year. However, if I’m incorrect, please let me know in the comments!

shared coffee
all the stories
we don’t tell

Lori Kiefer, Haikuniverse, October 5th, 2022

Just as devoted tea-drinkers can enjoy hot tea year-round, coffee drinkers usually take their beverage hot, even in the middle of summer. The avoidance of painful topics and/or the keeping of secrets also isn’t limited to a particular season. Lori Kiefer’s senryu does a beautiful job of showing a sense of distance even in physical proximity.


close up photo of raw green beans
Photo by Yulia Rozanova on

wind from the sea—
I clean the green beans
with my mother

Pasquale Asprea, Haikuniverse, June 26th, 2022

The act of shelling or cleaning beans can be a fun social activity. While it wasn’t something that happened in my family, I’ve cleaned a big garden haul with friends, many of whom shared fond memories of doing so in childhood. The green beans place this haiku in the summer. If you’re familiar with fresh sea air, it’s easy to feel the breeze, smell the salt, and feel the connection that comes from cleaning, preparing, or preserving food with a loved one.

I hope that as the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, you have plenty of opportunity to share good meals with people you care about.

(PS – A shout out to the wonderful folks a Kampai who know my favorite items on the menu.)

Episode 8: A Tour of My Favorite Saijiki

Where to Find the Three Saijiki
Haiku World: An International Poetry Almanac by William J. Higginson can be purchased at many used bookstores, including AbeBooks:

The Five Hundred Essential Japanese Season Words by Kenkichi Yamamoto is available at:

A Dictionary of Haiku Classified by Season Words with Traditional and Modern Methods by Jane Reichhold is available at:

Join the Conversation
I’m seeking guests for December! If you’d like to be on the podcast, visit and fill out the form. My life is a little hectic right now, so if I don’t follow up in a timely manner, send me a reminder.

Support the Project
You can make a one-time or recurring donation to the Culinary Saijiki at You also can help by sharing this episode with people you think will love it!

Theme Music
“J’attendrai” by Django Reinhardt,  performing at Cleveland Music Hall, 1939. This recording is in  the public domain. Hear the whole song at


Those familiar with the history of haiku know that the style emerged from the longer, collaborative form called renga. Renga were typically written at social gatherings, which often involved tea or sake. In my podcast episode with Jennifer Hambrick, we spoke a bit about alcohol in the haiku tradition, and acknowledged the challenges of celebrating what is a genuinely toxic substance that can lead to serious health issues, including addiction. I believe it’s important to acknowledge these complexities, and recognize the fact that, whether we like it or not, people have written, and are going to continue writing, libation haiku and senryu. I think it helps that these poems also are complex, and address sensuality, taste, pleasure, and problems.

So far in my research, I haven’t come across many alcohol terms that are clearly seasonally specific. Certainly, they exist; I’ve referenced Oktoberfest beer before, and that is certainly a fall term. Eggnog and hot toddies could correspond with winter, and if I find any of those, I’ll add them to my database. At this point, though, much of my collection includes drinking words that could best be described as all-year; all of the seasonal poems in this post include kigo not specifically related to drinking.

All Year

a friendship—
the whole universe drowned
in a wineglass

Franjo Ordanić, Failed Haiku 70

The loss of a friendship can be at least as devastating (if not more) than the end of a romantic relationship. I interpret this senryu as one in which drinking leads to a friendship’s tragic demise. Certainly if you know the pain of losing a close friend, it really can feel like drowning. In my interpretation of the poem, resentment has been building for some time, and one night after a drink too many, things blow up. As with many senryu, there’s no explicit seasonal referent. We would either need a standard kigo, or perhaps the name of a specific wine, to place this at a particular time of year.

ramen and beer . . .
the self-checkout lets me
avoid speaking

Joshua Gage, First Frost #1

Going out for ramen and beer can be a social activity, but in the second line of Joshua Gage’s haiku, we see it turned into a solitary venture. The second and third lines indicate that this solitude is a choice; the self-checkout lets him avoid speaking. The speaker of the haiku doesn’t just want to eat and drink alone; he wants to avoid conversation with the cashier as well. Ramen can be eaten any time of year, and I maintain that beer is an all-season word (more on that in the summer section of this post), so I consider this an all-season piece.

priest holding a chalice and communion bread
Photo by gabriel manjarres on

Holy Wafer
all sins forgiven—
I still get drunk

Eve Castle, Haiku Pea Podcast, Series 5, Episode 10

Communion is an all-year act (more on that in the winter section of this post), so without a further seasonal word, this is an all-year senryu. Written in homage to Jack Kerouac, Eve Castle’s poem speaks to the desire for transcendence and the limits of human fallibility. Even with the rituals that absolve us, we turn around and go back to our bad habits.


beer with a bourbon chaser
a wasp disappears
under a shingle

Kristen Lindquist, bottle rockets #46
clear glass mug filled with yellow liquid
Photo by Engin Akyurt on

While William J. Higginson lists beer as a summer kigo in Haiku World: An International Poetry Almanac, as I mentioned in a previous post, I don’t inherently agree with that assessment. Beer and bourbon are consumed year-round; it’s the presence of the wasp that makes this clearly a summer haiku. I’m also intrigued by the first image, because it inverts what I understand to be the usual drinking lineup. I admittedly have never had a chaser, and it was my understanding that people drank liquor first, and chased it with a beer. In my interpretation of Kirsten Lindquist’s haiku, the inversion of the standard order (beer coming before bourbon) mirrors the wasp as it goes upside-down beneath a shingle. (If you disagree with my interpretation, please let me know in the comments! Maybe I’m just seriously ignorant in the ways of drinking.)


will you, too, sink
into tonight’s last whiskey?
full moon

Joshua Gage, Haiku Pea Podcast, Series 5, Episode 4
selective focus photo of a shot glass with tequila near a slice of lime and salt
Photo by Los Muertos Crew on

tequila dreams
the half-moon floating
in amber

Mark E. Brager, Lifting the Sky: Southwestern Haiku and Haiga, ed. Scott Wiggerman and Constance Campbell. Dos Gatos Press, 2013.

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere (and as is mentioned in a number of saijiki), the moon is an autumn kigo. Neither whiskey nor tequila have their specific seasons (though aficionados should leave a comment correcting me if I’m wrong!), but the presence of the moon means I interpret these two haiku as taking place in autumn. What interests me about both of them is the way the moon appears to be immersed in liquor. In Joshua Gage’s poem, the full moon might sink. In Mark E. Brager’s poem, the half-moon floats suspended in the glass. Perhaps the drinkers are holding their glasses up to the sky. Perhaps they are slumped across tables, so the perspective of the moon appears low. I think Joshua’s poem is a little more morose, while Mark’s poem is a little more mystical, so in the first poem, I see someone slumped, but in the second, I see someone holding a glass.


crunch of snow
in the crosswalk
dirty martini

Jennifer Hambrick, Kingfisher 3

A dirty martini is one one which a splash of olive brine is added to the cocktail. The end result is a martini that is cloudy with a tinge of green. There’s nothing inherently seasonal about this particular cocktail; it’s the first image in Jennifer Hambrick’s haiku that places this poem in winter. When I read this poem, I picture a late winter snow, one that is icier, and a little gray from foot traffic and tires. Unlike fresh, early snow, this snow has been adulterated, and is less visually appealing. Of course, those who enjoy dirty martinis might not agree with the comparison, but I nonetheless think it’s a striking image.

vodka martini in cocktail glass
Photo by Polina Kovaleva on

his bartending story
while I set up the cups
winter communion

Dan Scherwin, bottle rockets #46

While a child’s first communion typically takes place in the spring in Western countries, the general act of communion happens year-round. Dan Scherwin specifically names the season here, which in my reading, enhances the sense of intimacy. The speaker of the senryu is setting up cups for the formal ritual, while someone keeping them company tells a story. The speaker of the poem and the teller of the story are in their own form of communion, being present with each other, keeping the bleakness of winter at bay with each other’s company.

As always, I look forward to your comments and questions! Feel free to also suggest post topics of you have them. While I do keep a list, I’m also curious about what people want to read on this site!

Jennifer Hambrick: Saving the Crust for Last

More from Jennifer Hambrick
You can order Jennifer’s haibun collection, Joyride (Red Moon Press, 2021) and her newest collection, In the High Weeds (National Federation of State Poetry Societies, 2022) from her website:

Watch Jennifer’s interview with violinist Zina Schiff and conductor Avlana Eisenberg for WOSU Public Media:

Read more of Jennifer’s haiku in the Living Haiku Anthology,-jennifer.html

Three poems by Jennifer Hambrick in Sequestrum


Join the Conversation
I’m seeking guests for October, November, and December! If you’d like to be on the podcast, visit and fill out the form. My life is a little hectic right now, so if I don’t follow up in a timely manner, send me a reminder.

Support the Project
You can make a one-time or recurring donation to the Culinary Saijiki at You also can help by sharing this episode with people you think will love it!

Theme Music
“J’attendrai” by Django Reinhardt, performing at Cleveland Music Hall, 1939. This recording is in the public domain. Hear the whole song at