Want to be part of Season 2?

Season 2 of The Culinary Saijiki launches on March 20th. In addition to three community blog posts and three open mic episodes, I have a list of fun topics related to classical haiku. And there’s plenty of opportunity for fellow haijin to get involved.

First, I am ready to start recording podcast guests for the new season. If you are interested in talking about classical haiku and how it relates to food, fill out the form here: https://forms.gle/7JP69qWfFf52ZfE37. Not sure what you want to discuss, but still want to be on the podcast? Fill it out anyway! I have some options for you to pick from.

Second, I would like to welcome guest bloggers for season two. If you would like to write a guest post related to the season two focus, fill out this form: https://forms.gle/smjAHvqdS3Tz38KYA. I can’t wait to see your ideas!

And for those of you who are wondering . . . Yes, you can write a guest post and be on the podcast!

I look forward to hearing from you and sharing your ideas as part of this project!

Mark Scott: Haiku, Food, and the Micro-Seasons

More about Mark Scott
Learn more about the micro-seasons at https://naturalistweekly.com/.
Support Naturalist Weekly: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/naturalistCFind Naturalist Weekly on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/naturalistweekly/

Harvest Time
Read the most recent community blog post at: https://culinarysaijiki.com/2022/12/04/bonus-post-community-harvest/

Join the Conversation
Season 2 will focus on food as it appears on classical haiku. If you would like to be on a Season 2 podcast episode, or write a guest post on this topic, contact me at allyson@allysonwhipple.com.

Support the Project
Buy me a coffee at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/culinarysaijiki. You can also help by sharing this podcast with anyone who you think might appreciate 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 https://clevelandhistorical.org/files/show/6045.

Bonus Post: Community Harvest

Talk about a cornucopia of poetry! For this bonus post, people took me up on my offer of multiple forms. I received not only haiku, but also tanka and tan-renga, and submissions came from three different continents!

It was a delight to put this post together over the course of a cold winter afternoon, drinking multiple cups of tea. I hope you enjoy the creative bounty as much as I did.


In Deb Koen’s first haiku, the second and third lines display a masterful example of double meaning, reinforcing the sense of abundance that comes from a harvest. The produce features an array of colors; each of these colors was produced by, and harvested from, the planet itself. The second sense of meaning comes from the range of colors available at a produce market. The color range among the harvested crops is expansive; every shade of the planet is represented here. We have not just an abundance of physical nourishment, but a feast of delights for the eyes as well.

every color
from earth

Deb Koen, USA. This haiku originally appeared in Haiku Canad Review, Winter 2020.
vegetables stall
Photo by PhotoMIX Company on Pexels.com

In the second haiku, Koen associates the comfort that both food and music can provide. For most people, comfort foods are rich and hearty. What makes them comforting is not just their heartiness. but also their familiarity. Just as delicious food prepared with care gets passed around a holiday table, an LP of comforting music rotates not just in physical space, but in and out of the listener’s consciousness. In this haiku I see abundance (hearty comfort food) and celebration (food being passed around the table), but I also wonder if this poem is about a meal taking place after a funeral: the food comforts the grieving, and the music brings back good memories of the departed loved one.

comfort food
circling the table
a Beatles LP

Deb Koen, USA. This haiku originally appeared in Frogpond 44:2.


Hassane Zemmouri’s first tanka gives us an image of a child’s joy at harvesting berries. There are two bounties: the fruit off the vine, and the experience of watching a child’s face light up. This poem reinforces the concept that food is not just physical nourishment. The connections we make to the land, and to each other, through the processes of harvesting, cooking, and eating, shine through in this brief work.

picking season-
the full basket doesn’t accommodate
the girl’s joy
her smile more delicious
than the expected jam

Arabic translation:

Hassane Zemmouri, Algeria. This tanka originally appeared in Take5, Issue 3.
clear glass mason jars
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Hassane’s second tanka reminds me of picking apples with my nephew this fall. Our neighbors have an apple tree, but weren’t interested in harvesting the fruit. My nephew and I went out with an apple picker and got as many as we could. When he was concerned about bruised or spotted apples, I reminded him of what his great-grandmother believed: that the ugly apples make the best applesauce. After harvesting the apples, my partner turned them into applesauce, and saved the peels to make jelly. I appreciate Hassane’s tanka because it illustrates so well how a short poem can awaken a beloved memory in a stranger half a world away.

end of picking-
the mother chooses the bruised apples
for jam
children dream
of candy apples

French translation:

fin de cueillette-
la mère choisit les pommes meurtries
pour la confiture
les enfants rêvent
de pommes d’amour

Arabic translation:

Hassane Zemmouri, Algeria


In their first tan-renga, Christina Chin and Uchechukwu Onyedikam magnify the sense of celebration that often comes at harvest time. Glass Gem corn originates in Oklahoma, and was developed by a farmer named Carl Barnes. It took him many years to collect the seeds and cross-breed the corn he found to create the vivid, translucent kernels we see today. It’s a rare breed of corn, and in this tanka, I see a celebration of the ingenuity and patience required to cultivate heirloom stock. Because rainbows are also associated with the queer community, I think that this tanka implies the marriage of queer farmers, a portion of the population that often gets overlooked. (You can read more about that at NPR.)

close up shot of yams
Photo by Daniel Dan on Pexels.com

stripping husks
from glass gem corn
an heirloom
of rainbow colours
farmer kisses farmer

Christina Chin, Malaysia, and Uchechukwu Onyedikam, Nigeria

The New Yam Festival is a celebration that takes place in Kogi state, Nigeria. It celebrates the farming season, as well as community and culture of of the Igbo people. It typically falls at the end of August or beginning of September, depending on when the first new yams appear. This tan-renga reminds me that while many holidays and festivals have set dates, the Earth does not follow the human-made calendar to the exact day. The world releases its bounty on its own time.

New Yam Festival
the Igbo people dig
into the ridges
end of rainy

Uchechukwu Onyedikam, Nigeria and Christina Chin, Malaysia

In their first tan-renga, Christina Chin and Linda Ludwig present a wintry scene warmed by delicious food and intimacy. While crabbing season varies by region, in much of the world, it starts in late autumn and ends in mid to late winter. While moonless nights happen all year long, there’s something about the darkness of winter that makes the lack of moon in this poem feel more potent. Yet the crabs, being in season, are juicy and delicious. I interpret a sensuality in this poem not just from the word “succulent,” but also because in some parts of the world, shellfish are considered an aphrodisiac. Regardless of whether or not I’m correct, there is still a delightful coziness in this tan-renga.

the traps
heavy with crabs
river with no moon
succulent dinner
for two

Christina Chin, Malaysia, and Linda Ludwig, USA

This final tan-renga contains historical allusions, illustrating the ways in which food is bound up in culture both past and present. The Silk Road existed as a network for traders exchanging goods between Asia and Europe, between 130 B.C.E. and 1453 C.E. Commodities included textiles, animals, and of course, foods and spices. The gogi berry comes from a shrub native to China, and long been used in both Chinese and Korean cooking and medicine. Today, people in the western world can find gogi berry tea sold as an alternative health product. What started as an indigenous ingredient is now a decontextualized commodity. Nonetheless, we can connect to the image of gogi berry and ginger blended into a simple tea, and imagine the connection the drinker might feel to generations past.

ripe grapes on branch on white surface in sunlight
Photo by Angelica Ospino Laguna on Pexels.com

the silk road
old world treasures
chi tea
a hot concoction
of goji berry ginger

Linda Ludwig, USA and Christina Chin, Malaysia


Thanks to everyone who contributed poems to this special post. I look forward to blogging again in 2023! For now, may you have a peaceful close of the year.

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 https://www.buymeacoffee.com/culinarysaijiki. 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: https://forms.gle/TxZWqf3zbfi1i9uR8
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: https://www.amazon.com/Dog-Days-Jerome-William-Berglund/dp/B09P3WTCQYHaiku and senryu from Fevers of the Mind: https://feversofthemind.com/2022/08/11/a-few-haiku-and-senryu-style-from-jerome-berglund/Four haiku in Dark Winter Literary Journal: https://www.darkwinterlit.com/post/4-haiku-by-jerome-berglundThree haiga from Ice Floe Press: https://icefloepress.net/three-haiga-jerome-berglund/Three haiga in Lothlorein Poetry Journal: https://lothlorienpoetryjournal.blogspot.com/2022/04/three-haiga-poems-by-jerome-berglund.html

Winter Updates
To read about my 2022 reflections and plans for 2023, read the newest blog post: https://culinarysaijiki.com/2022/11/13/the-season-for-reflection-and-rest/

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 https://clevelandhistorical.org/files/show/6045.

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: https://forms.gle/TxZWqf3zbfi1i9uR8

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: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/culinarysaijiki/.

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: https://forms.gle/TxZWqf3zbfi1i9uR8
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: https://culinarysaijiki.com/2022/05/31/bonus-post-spring-and-summer-celebrations/

Hear Peter’s haiku in the podcast community open mic: https://culinarysaijiki.com/2022/08/30/bonus-episode-community-open-mic-transitioning-from-summer-to-fall/

Read Peter’s contest-winning poem here: https://allysonwhipple.com/2021/02/27/february-poetry-contest-winner/

Verbing Weirds Language
View the Calvin & Hobbes strip we referenced here: https://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/1993/01/25

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 https://clevelandhistorical.org/files/show/6045.

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: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/culinarysaijiki/.

More from M.A. Dubbs

Failed Haiku Food Issue
You can find the May 2022 Failed Haiku issue themed around food here: https://failedhaiku.com/2022/05/

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 https://clevelandhistorical.org/files/show/6045.

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 Pexels.com

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 Pexels.com

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 Pexels.com

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.)