>> winning entries

1st place

after cocktails–
she stirs tofu
into his salad

Terry Ann Carter
Ottawa, Ontario

Who would have thought tofu could be erotic? But the action of stirring tofu into salad definitely has that overtone in this poem, and we wonder what the evening’s dessert might be. ~ Michael Dylan Welch

The haiku is perhaps the least likely location for a serious, lascivious pun, but to keep the form light with laughter is to keep it alive and thriving. This piece connects the sensual experience of dining with the more libidinal sport of seduction. However innocent its coy euphemisms may read, by the end of this short poem tofu seems suddenly sexy. ~ Gregory Betts

2nd place

weedy bean flower
flavored breeze, distilled
chilly sponge

Michelle Lewis,
Minneapolis MN

The haiku is such an old form that poets attempting to replicate the achievements of the past can be easily crushed under the weight of its ancient lineage. Writing today, however, presents other demands on all literary forms that oftentimes contradict the older voice. This poem, in telling the story of tofu from field to its last moments in preparation for a feeding frenzy, sidesteps the pitfalls and combines the ancestral heritage of the form with a contemporary splash of novelty. Though ostensibly a nature poem, this short piece also reminds us of the process our food undergoes before hitting the table, of the industry behind it. Household sponges were once the corpses of sea-creatures, but are now entirely synthetic industrial products. The ‘chilly’ comparison in the last line between tofu and the sponge presents a poignant reminder to remain aware of the distillation process of our food. Just another reason to insist on organic tofu at the supermarket! ~ Gregory Betts

3rd place

daylight saving -
the pattern of muslin
on a tofu block

Patricia Prime,
Auckland, New Zealand

This fine poem exhibits close observation — all vegetarians know that pattern of muslin! It also has a deft two-part juxtapositional structure that the best traditional haiku employ, as well as a seasonal reference (when we change our clocks for daylight saving time). The objective description enables readers to feel the experience for themselves, and have their own emotional reaction, whatever that reaction might be. For me, the time of year when we change our clocks is a time of transition between seasons, perhaps a more sombre or reflective time, and something about the pattern of muslin on tofu echoes that contemplativeness. Nicely seen. ~ Michael Dylan Welch

4th place

This tofu is a raft
wandering free
in a soy sauce tsunami.

Matias Blei
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Not only did this haiku make me laugh out loud but also I immediately imagined myself stranded in a soy sauce Tsunami thankful for the tofu raft. Great job! ~ Sarah Kramer

5th place

in my first apartment
a white cube wiggles
bought for a dollar

Martin Francisco
Azusa, California

The word ‘first’ makes this poem. We know that the person in the poem doesn’t have much money, and is making the most of it with a white cube of inexpensive tofu. Yet he or she still enjoys its wiggle, a small wiggle of celebration for securing that first apartment and the independence that it brings. ~ Michael Dylan Welch

6th place

tofu
on our first date
supernova

Tony A Thompson
Lufkin, Texas

Tells an entire, emotional, impactful story using very few words. ~ Jill Binder

Honourable Mentions

Cool morning awakes
Tofu crumbles past fingers
Pan sizzles and smokes

Russell Massmann
San Francisco, California

This haiku conveys the experience of waking up - but there’s a tangible urgency to the preparation of this breakfast. ~ David Alexander, Tofu Haiku Coordinator

Summer storm
Drifting in her soup
Clouds of tofu

Fae Desmond
El Cajun, California

Whether caught in the unexpected summer storm and drenched or simply watching the rain fall outside your kitchen window, this poem captures the power of soup on a rainy day. ~ David Alexander

a vee of geese
tofu and fried noodles
for one

Beverly A Tift
New Haven, Conneticut

Is tofu a solitary food? Often it seems to be. The migrating geese are a dependable seasonal phenomenon, and when we see them, we are prone to examine ourselves, to think about where we might rather be, both physically and metaphorically, in our lives. And here the poet is preparing a simple meal for himself or herself, and notices the migrating geese. This poem has a feeling of melancholy sadness to it, something like the wabi or sabi of many traditional Japanese haiku. ~ Michael Dylan Welch

Raw Arctic wind
bites into the bones,
a sharp knife cuts into a tofu block

Kamal Parmar,
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

While longer than traditional haiku, the juxtaposition here tells a pointed story. ~ David Alexander

In water it comes,
jiggling on the cutting board
nourish herbivores.

Kyle den Bak
Ottawa, Ontario

This well-composed piece makes me quite hungry. ~ David Alexander

Honourable Mention - Kids

Tofu Is Soybeans
Soybeans are so good for you
So Tofu is Too

Catriona Dever, 7
San Francisco, California

Tofu O Tofu
Like sweet strawberry Blossums
Always a pleasure

Katelyn Sky Dever, 10
San Francisco, California

Good in pumpkin pie
It is so yummy in shakes
Great in a burger!

Tyler Amano-Smerling, 7
Torrence, California

Can be cut in cubes
Is sometimes used for salads
I like it a lot!

Tyler Amano-Smerling, 7
Torrence, California