Friday, June 12, 2020

The Poetry Pea Journal of Haiku and Senryu, Spring 2020

Editor: Patricia McGuire


prairie hill
a mule deer walks
over the sun


Valentine's Day
our Dalmatian pup's
new red leash

the way you expand
my universe


cold stretch
I mix a suet cake
for the birds

grandma's bread . . .
the love she forgot
to add

Judge's Choice

I love haiku that grapple with the layers of our near universal experiences. Haiku invite the reader into the poem which in this case meant into our kitchens. These submissions sent me googling recipes and ingredients from across the globe. Many referenced mom or mom's cooking, or alluded to other family members in the kitchen. It isn't surprising that numerous entries called on that moment when a taste or aroma, or even the process of cooking inspired warm memories of food and family. It also didn't surprise me that many poems were of a more senryu flavor (sorry, couldn't resist...) using humor to highlight cooking mistakes or human behavior.

Ultimately however, I was stopped cold by a more poignant memory in Debbie's senryu.

The Oxford English dictionary defines poignant as 'evoking a keen sense of sadness or regret' but earlier it was used to connote 'sharp or pungent in taste or smell.' How perfect to describe this poem. Fond, doting grandparents are a common stereotype. Not knowing one's grandparents or knowing them as cold or removed might leave a lasting impression on anyone. Bread is the very symbol of hospitality and is one of the first things we partake when we sit together. Debbie sets us up for all the warmth and love a fresh loaf evokes and then sadly cuts in a completely different direction. For my part I hope this is fictional, and that she has much warmer memories. Regardless, it is an excellent poem.

—Community Judge: m shane pruett

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