Q&A: Clint Young, Second-Place Winner in the 'Yummm!' Brunch Haiku Contest

Clint Young submitted the haiku "Chicken ‘n Waffles with a side of assumption" to win second place and a $25 French Market gift certificate in the second Metro Pulse YUMMM! restaurant guide haiku contest, themed "brunch." His entry reads: "Last night is hazy/but if I pay for your brunch/I'll assume we screwed." (This time's first-place winner Donna Doyle was interviewed in the Aug. 11, 2011 MP, when she came in second, so this may become a tradition.)

What is your basic attitude towards brunch?

Brunch is probably the only reason most of the people I know get up before lunch on Saturdays. It's my favorite meal. I defy anyone to name any other time of the average week where it's socially acceptable to have champagne, gravy, and maple syrup all in the same sitting.

Is this haiku autobiographical?

Not even remotely. I have never experienced chicken and waffles.

What's your favorite brunch food? Drink?

It varies. I was on an omelet kick for a while, but eventually that wasn't enough and I progressed into the shady world that is shrimp and grits, and—at one of the darkest points in my life—ending up stabbing a guy in the back of the hand with a fork when he tried to steal one of my shrimp. True story. Drink-wise, it's hard to beat a mimosa, but I once had a Bloody Mary that changed the way I felt about tomatoes. If you're ever in Madison, Wis. ask around for that one.

Do you ever cook brunch for friends?

Absolutely. When I cook brunch, it usually involves peppered bacon, coarse grits, and a Paula Deen-ish amount of butter.

Do you consider yourself a poet?

No. I do a lot of songwriting and I occasionally crank out a poem, but it's been years since I've published poetry anywhere except Facebook. I'd guess I have 50-odd unpublished poems laying around, but I'm far more inclined towards lyrics than poetry. Poetry is much harder. The music sets the tone with songs.

Do you have any formal training?

No. I got my haiku skills on the mean streets. I'm like—the Marshall Mathers of haiku, or whatever.

When was the first time you ever wrote a haiku?

Had to be 7th or 8th grade. That one was about as inappropriate as this one, but it got okayed because the inappropriate part was a double entendre.

What's your secret for counting syllables?

It's very helpful to be able to count to 17 and just stop there.

What gave you the idea for this haiku?

The premise comes from a guy I knew in college. It's a condensed version of what was basically a soliloquy he went into one late night at a Waffle House.

How long did it take to write?

Maybe...seven minutes of actual focused writing? I do a lot of revision when I write, so it wasn't something I was satisfied with the first time through. I write, put it away, and come back to it.

What technology did you use?

I started out on paper, but my pen ran out of ink and while I was at lunch, I ended up downloading an application on my iPhone called, "Haiku Time." It's free and has pleasant backgrounds, but won't allow you to add a title, unfortunately.

Were you surprised to place?

Definitely. I didn't really give placing much thought, honestly. I just did it because it seemed like fun.

Would you enter again?

Heck, yeah. It's not that critical to me that I win. I enjoy the creative process. Not to say that my ego is above being stoked by the gratification of placing. My ego and I are totally stoked.

Any future theme suggestions?

Lemme see. In random order: The smells of Knoxville. Market Square. Fellini Kroger. Typical UT game day. "Butt Chugging." Good reasons why UT should build a golf course on the Ag Campus. Things that sound dirty, but aren't really. Fun with homophones.