Featuring cherita!

July 9, 2010

Poetry Friday--Tomatoes

Two years ago I came upon a website for a tomato festival that is held annually in East Nashville, TN. Since summer, for me, is defined by two things, fresh tomatoes and ripe peaches, I was motivated to explore the page promoting the festival. I found that the Tomato Art Fest included a tomato haiku contest. Whoa! Right up my alley! I submitted several poems, but I didn't win. I was mildly irritated by the fact that the "winners" were 5-7-5 format, and not what I'd consider to be genuine haiku.

Last year, the haiku contest was repeated, but, non-5-7-5 poems were actively sought. I was tickled tomato red to see this expansion of the contest. I submitted, and again, I didn't win. But, I never really expected to--I think local event contests should be won by locals.

Just last week I got an email telling me that the Hot Tomato Haiku Contest is being held again. I think I'm almost out of tomato ideas, but I may submit something since I see that LOSERS can be resubmitted.
You may resubmit a haiku from past years as long as it wasn’t chosen for the Top 10 in any category.
If you're interested, submission information is found here.

The haiku in this haiga isn't something I would submit since it is region specific, but I thought I'd share it with you.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved

For non-haiku tomato poems, visit the Poetry Foundation website where you'll find two dozen poems that have at least a mention of tomatoes! A poem by Louise Gluck, "Vespers [In your extended absence, you permit me]" captures the experience of tomato growing in New England--even better than I did.      ;-)

Ketchup on this week's Poetry Friday offerings by visiting Carol's Corner.


  1. Hi, Diane--

    Well, I have finally taken the time to noodle around here with you and find myself all educated on the topic of Japanese short form poetry as well as all impressed with what I now realize are your gorgeous haiga. I would love to know how you develop these.

    I came downstairs this morning to find the remnants of a farmer's market tomato on the counter, left out by my dear partner whose habit it is to make small snacks (usually involving tomatoes and Brie) and then leave all the necessaries lying out. Here's my rainy morning haiku, now informed by kire, ma, kokoro and kijo:

    cut tomato--
    chambered heart seeping
    summer seeds

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    or, wait--what about

    chambered heart seeping
    summer blood


  2. green tomatoes--
    still fresh on my mind many
    childhood memories

    much love

  3. Hi Heidi! Both of your haiku are fabulous! Now that you've been suckered into haiku, perhaps you'd like to participate in the monthly kukai that takes place at Haiku World. The deadline for July is still a week away, although this is probably not the best month to start since I find the free format topic, "anything quirky," to be a bit odd!

    Excuse me for bragging, but I placed first in the June kigo contest! I'd been playing for a year, so this did a whole lot to boost my confidence!

    Hi Gillena! Tomatoes don't hold as many memories for me as peaches, do. What does that say about me that my summers are defined by food? ;-)

    Heidi, I'd love to talk with you about haiga, just email me [dDOTmayrATcomcastDOTnet] if you'd like to discuss it! Also, check out Gillena's blog, Lunch Break. She usually runs haiga, but this month she is doing a fun picture renga!

  4. I entered that tomato haiku contest too and never placed anything. But here's to trying again!! Thanks for the encouragement. I really like your green tomato promises haiga. And congratulations on your kigo first place! I got discouraged there after playing for a while. Maybe I need to go back and work on it some more.

  5. Diane, I love your tomato-and-peach definition of summer. And since I've been going up to Vermont frequently the past four years, I am smiling at your haiga about promises. This year I'm growing several kinds of tomatoes, and they all appear to be turning red at once! Ack!

    Heidi, terrific haiku, both of them, but I think I prefer the first one, for the echoes and alliteration in the last line. Blood introduces new associations, takes me somewhere else, although on thinking about it...maybe I like that one better, for the echo with "heart." Hmmm....

    Gillena, I just visited your blog -- what fun! (I love the Moomins, too.)