Haiku Contest Winners!

Greetings, poets and admirers thereof! Two Tuesdays ago, I announced a small haiku contest; today, the winners are at last revealed. To everyone who entered, I extend my sincere thanks. I loved reading your verses and am truly grateful to you for sharing them. After long consideration of every entrant's eminently worthy words, I've chosen my two favorites:

a sudden downpour
all the abandoned cars are
showing true colors

–Raj K. Bose

old and used PC —
failed to climb Mount Everest
through the Google Earth

–Minh-Triết Phạm

Raj, I so admire your gift for conjuring vivid, complex, and inobvious imagery. Minh-Triết, your verse made me smile, both because I'm quite familiar with the conundrum you describe (trying to navigate Google Earth/Street View via an aged and cantankerous computer), and because of the way you neatly highlight the absurdity of the situation. Kindly e-mail me at tlevy@peterpauper.com with your choice of prize.

A few other favorites from the marvelous entry pool:

Ladybugs meant luck
Now thousands march on my house!
Pepper smell when smushed

–Suzanne Eytel

It was at that time
That I rescued my toothbrush
From her gaping maw


(It seems the ill-fated toothbrush is a rich haiku subject. I'm a little tempted to start an epic haiku cycle chronicling the near misses and tragic ends that befall dental care implements. –T)

summer holidays —
the world is being remade
around the campfire

–Minh-Triết Phạm

My words asleep
Tucked in aged pages
Cockle doodle doo


on nicotine patch
spending the entire summer
watching brush fires

–Raj K. Bose

centenary is
the grandfather's pendulum —
a nightingale's song

–Minh-Triết Phạm

And finally, from Ruth Lutnick, my grandmother, who is busy as ever but spared a moment for her granddaughter's latest eccentric endeavor:

this is not for me
but I will do it for you
and now meditate


If you enjoyed the contest, perhaps take a gander at our renowned, newly re-released volumes of classic haiku in translation. Click on the covers to visit the Amazon page for each book.


Haiku contest!

Greetings, readers! It is with no meager quantity of excitement that I announce the re-release of our four beloved Haiku compilations, translated by our founder Peter Beilenson, for your e-reader of choice! Japanese Haiku, The Four Seasons, Cherry Blossoms, and Haiku Harvest collect the poems of Basho, Buson, Issa, Shiki, and a panoply of other luminaries. In honor of these volumes' glorious re-emergence, I thought I'd run a little HAIKU CONTEST. Details on both the books and the contest below!


If you're not familiar with the works of the old haiku masters (most particularly funny, bittersweet Issa, in my opinion), you're in for a treat. The best haiku–which these are–utterly capture the spirit of a compelling moment, so that in the instant you read them you're watching clover petals mingle with small gleaming seashells in the springtime ocean surf (Basho) or observing a swallow as it makes its nest in the nostril of a majestic statue of Buddha (Issa). Peter Beilenson's lyrical translations brim with verve and spirit. I really can't recommend his interpretations of these verses highly enough. (You may point out my bias in this matter, given my investment in their success. I can only say that if I didn't truly think them marvelous, I would describe them with artful vagueness instead of unstinting delight.)



And now we come to the HAIKU CONTEST! I know from your lovely comments on our holiday contest posts that you, dear readers, have interesting thoughts and great stories to tell. I'll send a Peter Pauper product of your choice (max value $20) to two people who leave a haiku in the comments here, on Twitter, or on Facebook recounting something funny or fascinating that you encountered recently. Anything goes! (A haiku, for those in need of a refresher, is a three-line poem in which the first line contains five syllables; the second line, seven syllables; and the third, five again.) Here are a few ridiculous ones of mine, to give you ideas:

Six in the morning
Is miserable enough
Sans toothbrush spider

Shoddy sci-fi film
Arms its invading cyborgs
With giant chainsaws?

Alas, there’s no lap
On earth that can hold you now
Newly-grown sheepdog

2AM, full tea mug
Forgotten, cooling, drowned in
A rush of ideas

Drat you, you smug cat
That boot is bigger than you
How did you steal it?

CERN found a new
Boson, splashed a drop from the
Dark river of space

These poems display
Decent wit, if not insight
Credit for panache?


You get the idea! Hop to it!

Retro Recipe Thursdays: Empanadas de Pollo

Greetings, retro chefs! This week's recipe is from our new ebook Simple Spanish Cookery, based on our vintage 1970s cookbook of the same name. Promotional Note: The ebook will be FREE to download from Amazon.com on Friday, Nov. 9th!

And now back to our recipe: Empanadas are common fare in most Latin American countries. They are little pastries which have any number of different sorts of fillings, and they are commonly served at parties, at picnics, as snacks or as hors d'oeuvres. Following is a sample recipe.


Empanadas de Pollo
(Chicken Turnovers — Mexico)
Makes 10 servings.

Empanadas de Pollo Filling
Basic Pastry

Empanadas de Pollo Filling
1 cup chopped chicken, cooked
2 tsp. butter
1 can pimientos
1/2 cup minced onion
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 cup chopped olives
1 chopped hard-boiled egg
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper

Soften the onion in the butter, add chicken and pimientos, then fry until lightly browned. Add the rest of the ingredients, heat well, then make empanadas with the basic pastry dough

Basic Pastry Recipe
2 cups flour
1 egg
1 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup ice water

Mix flour, egg, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, then work in the butter. Add enough ice water to hold the pastry together. Roll out the dough on a floured board, and cut into round pieces about four inches in diameter. Put the filling on one half of the circle, wet the edge with water, and fold the other half over it, pinching the edges together. Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes, unless otherwise directed.


First Image © Analia Valeria Urani / Shutterstock.com



Retro Recipe Thursdays: Quickie Guacamole

This week's retro recipe is from our vintage Peter Pauper Press cookbook, The ABC of Canapés. All the recipes from this popular classic are now available for Amazon Kindle! (And check out the rest of our first batch of vintage cookbooks here!)

"Every experienced hostess knows that anything can be a canapé, and many a fine new combination has been the product of desperation."  Edna Beilenson



Quickie Guacamole

1 ripe avocado
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 onion, grated*
1 tablespoon salad oil
Salt, pepper, paprika to taste
*Garlic may be used instead of onion.

Cut ripe avocado in half, remove stone and peel. Mash very fine with a silver fork. Add lemon juice at once to prevent darkening and then blend in other ingredients. Serve cold as a spread or dunk.