Haiku Reflections For Memorial Day

☆☆

Eagles nestled in
High above the peaceful shore
Watching, protecting

By Michael Brigandi (Syracuse 2014) 

A well-written Haiku can say a lot in only a few words and syllables. It can tell a story and even express deep emotions. It can also be political and make us pause to reflect upon the world around us. Like other forms of poetry, haiku can speak to war and peace, heroes and fallen soldiers, victory and defeat, freedom and sacrifice. 

Heroes defended 
Liberty and freedom rang 
Stars and stripes rippled 

              by Michelle Miles (Ft. Wayne 2016)

☆☆

From our 2003 Poster Series, our featured haiku poster thoughtfully reflects the haunting memories of war. The wonderful and unambiguous haiku was written by poet, Bryan Wilbur. The poster was beautifully illustrated by former Syracuse University illustration student, Robert Franceschini, who writes, “…. I felt that the haiku was explaining a man paying his respect to the soldier who fought in the war. I also portrayed one of the “fallen soldiers” returning the respect with a salute in the cast shadow of the figure.”

Emptiness echoes 
around monuments. A man 
remembers shadows.

☆☆

Memorial Day was originally set aside as a day to honor and remember those Americans who have died while serving and defending our country in all its wars. While it remains a day of solemn observance, it has also become the symbolic start of Summer. Now that many COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, and as more folks are vaccinated, some traditional Memorial Day celebrations and remembrances will be easier to participate in this year. So, wherever you find yourself this Memorial Day–whether it’s laying a wreath or raising a flag, marching along with a parade or gathering with family for a barbecue–remember those who have fallen and keep peace in your heart. 

Be safe and be well! 

Rosalyn M. Carroll for the Syracuse Poster Project

More Haiku For Mother’s Day

💗💗🌷🌸🌱🌺💗💗🌳🌹🌵🍒🌱🌷💗💗

Between cement cracks
Fragrant wildflowers blossom
kissed by golden rays

by Deb Bateman (East Syracuse 2001)

Ready or not, Mother’s Day will be here soon. A pleasant reminder, if you will, that Spring has sprung at last...well, at least, that’s what the calendar says!
It’s here, falling fast!
Snowflakes land wet and heavy.
Tulips sadly droop.

by Rosalyn M. Carroll (Manlius 2021)

Despite the snow and chilly rain of late, (we need the rain, or so ‘they’ say), the wild abundance of Daffodils and Tulips this year should make a perfect Mother’s Day bouquet! Their warm and familiar colors seem to rival all those joyfully bursting yellow Forsythia found growing everywhere this year! 

drops of rain water 
dangle under a tree branch,
temporary pearls

by Sara Parrott (Nedrow 2017)

Nothing, though, seems to rival all the wind storms that this Spring has sprung…

so much wind today
kids blow kisses through their wands
bubbles chase me home

by Wendy E. Kaplan (Villas, N.J. 2020)

💗💗🌷🌸🌱🌺💗💗🌳🌹🌵🍒🌱🌷💗💗

To celebrate Mother’s Day, our featured haiku poster is from our 2004 Series. Artist, Meaghan Arbital, has created a colorful complement to the wonderful haiku written by Poet, Molly English.

Onondaga Lake
Shoreline; a nesting hotbed.
Make way for goslings

Looking at this cheerful poster, it’s easy to see, even in nature, Mother’s Day seems to be synonymous with Spring blooms, birth, growth and nurturing. 

Buds and baby birds
grow together on branches
fly away in fall

by Megan Reed (Liverpool 2009)

Despite ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, we hope your Mother’s Day is a pleasant and Spring-infused one! 

💗💗🌷🌸🌱🌺💗💗🌳🌹🌵🍒🌱🌷💗💗

And, last, but not least, in case you missed it, the 2021 Virtual Series Event and 20th Anniversary Celebration was a huge success and a lot of fun! Such good work this year by poets and artists! Thanks again, also, to our sponsors and donors, our interns, volunteers and board members. Please enjoy the roughly half-hour presentation of the 2021 Virtual Series Event and Anniversary Celebration by clicking this link: https://youtu.be/R8N-DmL9CxY. By the way, if you see a new haiku poster you just have to have framed and hung in your family room, click here to shop!

Thank you!

Posted by Rosalyn M. Carroll for Syracuse Poster Project

Our 20th Anniversary and 2021 Series Event

We’re celebrating our 20th Anniversary! 

The Syracuse Poster Project is celebrating 20 years of bringing together community poets and artists to create an annual series of poetry posters for the poster kiosks in downtown Syracuse. Co-founded in 2001 by long-time Syracuse resident, Jim Emmons and Roger DeMuth, artist and former Professor of Illustration at Syracuse University (SU), the Poster Project’s first Series was unveiled in 2002. 

I spoke recently with Jim about the driving force behind the creation of the Syracuse Poster Project:

Founded in 2001 and formally established as a non-profit in 2010, the Syracuse Poster Project was formed to solve an issue with the city’s image. The problem arose after a major renovation of the downtown streetscape in the mid-1990’s. Included in this renovation were approximately 25 poster panels, or kiosks, intended as advertising venues for downtown merchants. Instead of flourishing, these kiosks languished, often displaying outdated material or nothing at all. Like empty storefronts, the panels blighted downtown. The Poster Project addressed this problem by bringing together and artists to create civic poster art for the panels. We did this by inviting writers to write Syracuse-themed haiku, then having the best of these haiku illustrated by art students from the illustration program at Syracuse University. 

Downtown Kiosk
From our 2008 Poster Series 
Poet: Rosalyn M. Carroll 
Artist: Rebecca Zomchek

I asked Jim to expand upon how Syracuse University art students became involved with the Project in its early days: 

2015 Poster Series
Poet: Peggy Droz

Artist: Roger DeMuth

Jim first became aware of the illustration program at SU after reading a story in the SU Alumni Magazine about Professor Roger DeMuth. At the time, Professor DeMuth would assemble a collection of his students’ work, in postcard format, to present to prospective employers at an art and design convention in New York City. Intrigued by the graphic quality of this work, Jim reached out to DeMuth and proposed teaming up by having DeMuth’s students illustrate haiku-based posters for the city’s poster kiosks. Professor DeMuth accepted, and continued to participate in the Project, annually, for 15 years until his retirement from SU.





Once the source for posters was resolved, I asked Jim, why haiku?

While brainstorming ideas for better ways to use the downtown kiosks, Jim also consulted with an advertising professor at SU and pitched several ideas to the Downtown Committee of Syracuse. One of those ideas was to create haiku-based posters. This seemed a viable possibility as there was already a tradition of people writing haiku in Syracuse for the Syracuse New Times Syr-Haiku contest. In addition, the brevity of haiku lent itself to the brevity of communication required of poster art. The Syracuse New Times let us tap its collection of haiku, which we immediately supplemented with our own call for haiku. A year or two later, the New Times ceased its contest, and we relied entirely on our own call for haiku.

Syracuse New Times
Syr-Haiku Contest

Eventually, the Syracuse Poster Project’s annual call for haiku included a kind of Ekphrastic challenge. I asked Jim about this challenge–where a poster is commissioned and poets have the chance to submit a haiku to fit the illustration:

2012 Poster Series
Poet: Sara Parrott

Artist: Skip Frost

For the 2012 poster series, we created the first of several “reverse process” posters, in which we commissioned an illustration and invited poets to write haiku to complement the image. The first instance of this arose when Onondaga Community College (OCC) asked us to create a poster in celebration of its 50th Anniversary. We commissioned Skip Frost, an art instructor at the college, to paint a scene of OCC’s iconic footbridge, which was then completed with a haiku submitted by Sara Parrott


In 2018, shortly after Roger DeMuth retired from SU’s Illustration Program, Syracuse Poster Project initiated an open call for Central New York artists to participate in the production of the 2019 poster series. I asked Jim about the success of this change:

It has been tremendously successful. From 2001 to 2017, we collaborated with a senior illustration class at Syracuse University, whose students would select and illustrate haiku. In 2018, we broadened our reach by implementing an open call for Central New York artists. Each year, approximately 40 artists have committed to participating. After screening submitted haiku, we allot four of our favorites to each artist to participate. Artists then select and illustrate their preferred haiku.

2019 Poster Series
Poet: David Harper

Artist: Eva Hunter

As we celebrate our 20th Anniversary, I asked Jim to briefly reflect on the success of the Syracuse Poster Project:

Photo: Rosalyn M. Carroll, 2018

If numbers are any indication of success, consider this:

In 20 years, the Syracuse Poster Project:

  • Has worked with more than 500 artists and 600 poets
  • 3,136 haiku have been submitted for consideration
  • approximately, 320 haiku posters have been completed
  • 440 of those posters have hung in kiosks in downtown Syracuse

Over the years, the Syracuse Poster Project has grown tremendously and has implemented new ways of fulfilling its mission to enliven the city of Syracuse and to build community between poets, artists and the community at large. 

Along with a well-constructed website, an active Blog and social media presence, Syracuse Poster Project also sells poster prints and poster-related products in their online Shop, at local events, such as the annual Syracuse Arts and Crafts Festival, and at our annual (pre-pandemic) Series Unveiling Event in April. 

2017 Poster Series
Poet: Ross Getman

Artist: Tong “Amy” Su

Among other community building events, including occasional  poetry workshops and the Erie Canal Museum Poster Installation, there is also a traveling exhibit of framed poster prints that has contributed to the wide audience Syracuse Poster Project currently enjoys.


As Jim explained to me, “….each year, we print 16 unique posters and up to 10 copies of select posters for a total of approximately 22 posters to appear in the kiosks. So: 22 posters per year over the course of 20 years amounts to 440 posters.”

Upon further reflection, Jim added this note of thanks: 

Interns: Yunhu Zhu & Jiaqi Liu
Photo: Jim Emmons, 2020

Our success would not be possible without the support of our generous sponsors and dedicated Board members, our tireless volunteers and enthusiastic interns.

We also thank our poets and artists for their spirit, skill and creativity, and a tremendous thank you to our larger circle of community supporters for keeping faith in us. Together, we’ve helped to make Syracuse a place of civic art.

Board member: Marc Maynard
Photo: Jim Emmons, 2015

In closing, our 20th Anniversary celebration would not be complete without the unveiling of our newest Series!

With yet another year of pandemic quarantining, we are unable to meet and mingle in person as has been our tradition. Instead, we will be presenting our 2021 Series Unveiling Event virtually. Like last year’s virtual unveiling, the YouTube premiere of the 2021 Series will combine posters, poems, video clips by the artists and poets, and live commenting. This special event will take place on Thursday, April 22 at 6:00PM.  To watch and participate, go to the Poster Project’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/theposterproject. Please join us!

Enjoy a few photos below from our previous Unveiling Events or click here for more!

Thank you!

Posted by Rosalyn M. Carroll for the Syracuse Poster Project

Haiku For March, 2021

🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀

It’s hard to believe that roughly one year ago, the Coronavirus blew into March like a lion. Still roaring strong, the pandemic has changed all our lives quite dramatically. Adapting to these changes and the resulting “new normal” hasn’t been easy. Thankfully, the constancy of March and its promise of Spring hasn’t changed! 

Thus far this March, Central New York has seen a few sunny days mixed with bitter cold and snowy days. Notwithstanding those few wild and windy grey days, there is absolute joy when spotting Crocus blooming or Tulip shoots pushing their way up through worn patches of snow!

Poster: From our 2018 Series
Poet: Laura Feldman
Artist: Anna Schwartz

Pale winter lifts her
hooded veil and buds appear
in a burst of spring

Despite crowd restrictions and masked coaches, college hoop fans are checking their brackets and watching games from home as March Madness gets underway this week. Out of 68 teams, will a “Cinderella” team emerge this year? Which two teams will progress to the Championship Game on April 5th? Fingers crossed!!

Poster: From our 2016 Series
Poet: T. Michael Duncan
Artist: Cecily Thomas

Thousands march like ants
Uphill. Wearing orange, blue
Invade a white dome.

For the safety of marchers and revelers alike, Syracuse was among many cities that did not schedule a St. Patrick’s Day parade. Disappointing as this is, be sure to celebrate the day by donning some green and cooking up your own Corned Beef and Cabbage. And though nothing beats a well-poured draft of stout at your local pub, be sure to raise a pint at home to St. Patrick and the many contributions of the Irish.

Poster: From our 2017 Series
Poet: Abigail Lent
Artist: Mack Muller

At a corner stool
Beige froth nearly overflows
Silky Guinness poured

March will always be the month when the sounds of Spring fill the air. Whether it’s the chirping song of returning Robins or the sharp splat of rain against the windowpane or the howling wind of a sudden snow squall or even listening to Celtic music on St. Patrick’s Day, March is still the perfect prelude to Spring!

Poster: From our 2015 Series
Poet: Ellen McNeal
Artist: Dianna Wendell

Lone violinist
strains against a wintry blast.
Snowy walk. Encore.

For more haiku celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, click here. Check out our March Madness posts here. And, for more Spring haiku, click here! As always, if you love any of our posters, click here to Shop!

Happy Spring!

Stay well and be safe!

Posted by Rosalyn M. Carroll for Syracuse Poster Project

Haiku for Black History Month – 2021

❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

Hidden on Rose Hill
Courageous lives not honored
Freedom seekers rest.

by Terry Eckert (Bridgeport 2014)

Each year, Black History Month concentrates on a unique theme which explores, recognizes and celebrates the many achievements, advancements and continuing struggles of Black Americans. 

Captured in dark bronze
Unfettering Jerry’s limbs
Black Lives do Matter

by Martin Sweeney (Homer 2020)

In 2021, Black History Month’s focus is on “The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity”. 

Communities cry
the streets swallowing them whole
Mothers light candles

by Marissa Saunders (Syracuse 2016)

Made even more visible over the past year, Black American families have suffered greater socio-economic hardships due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

During pandemic
masked folk of all types gather
Black lives do matter

by David Hitchcock (Fayetteville 2020)

Families torn apart by racism and violence in 2020 found a newborn voice in the Black Lives Matter Movement.

All kinds of people
seeking respect and justice 
for Black Lives Matter 

by Brian Mitchell (Baldwinsville 2020)

With a new administration in the White House, attainable diversity was seen with the election of the country’s first Black American Vice President, Kamala Harris.

Faith is a fruit tree
decades past planted promise
bearing gifts today

by Thomas Stock (Fort Plain 2016)

❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

For the 2009 Poster Series, we received special permission to use two splendid illustrations by Donald Kilpatrick, a professional illustrator from Detroit who, at the time, was studying graduate work at Syracuse University. We then invited poets from the CNY community to complement his work with a haiku.

Black or white, light or ~ dark, we all call this city ~ our home. We are one.

Former Syracuse University student, Matt Sattler, recalls writing his wonderful haiku to fit Mr. Kilpatrick’s exceptional illustration above: “This image reminded me that there are racial differences, and people have different skin colors, but underneath it we’re all trying to achieve the same goals…. beside the image, my inspiration for this poem came from Barack Obama. At the time, he was still running to be elected, and the whole racial issue came to life every night on television. Watching the election coverage, I became more enlightened, realizing that there’s all sorts of different races out there, and we should do our best to represent them all.”  We think you’ll agree, this wonderful haiku poster speaks volumes in support of both Black History Month and Black Lives Matter. 

As you can see, human nature and different aspects of the human condition are well-suited for haiku. To read other haiku from our archives highlighting Black History Month, Click Here! If you’re interested in purchasing this poster, its matching Note Card Collection, or any of our other Syracuse Poster Project haiku posters, Click here!

Thank you!

Posted by Rosalyn M. Carroll for the Syracuse Poster Project

Haiku For a Mask

ᐇᐇᐇᐇᐇ  *****  ᐇᐇᐇᐇᐇ  *****  ᐇᐇᐇᐇᐇ  *****  ᐇᐇᐇᐇᐇ

summoned by sunlight
masked pedestrian shadows
avoid each other

by Joe Sarnicola (Auburn 2020)

ᐇᐇᐇᐇᐇ  *****  ᐇᐇᐇᐇᐇ  *****  ᐇᐇᐇᐇᐇ  *****  ᐇᐇᐇᐇᐇ

Since last March, when the Coronavirus pandemic first put us all in lockdown, wearing a face mask to protect each other has become de rigueur. 

Halloween each day,
masked eyes measuring six feet,
a faceless future.

by Ann Scholl (Skaneateles 2020)

While it has not been an entirely easy adjustment for everyone, masks have become part of our new normal.

Masked folk walk, bike, run
the Erie Canal towpath
during pandemic.

by David Hitchcock (Fayetteville 2020)

In fact, at work or play, masks have become essential…as has a new level of patience when wearing one—or when trying to understand your dentist who’s wearing 3 or 4 layers of masked protection as he tools about your mouth!

Off to work -- pause, breathe.
Mask, gown, gloves. Patients. Patience.
I smile with my eyes.

by Jaclyn Sisskind (Manlius 2020)

At the start, finding the right mask to wear was a difficult prospect as there were few to be found. Now, from “how to sew your own” to the expensively styled and marketed, face masks have also become the new look du jour. 

Masking to combat
One-hundred years pandemic
assorted facewears

by Audia Denton (Ithaca 2020)

From our 2013 Series, our featured haiku poster adds a bit of lighthearted comfort to our current mask situation. Highlighting the colorful imagery of the poet’s words, the poster was beautifully illustrated by former Syracuse University student, Carolyn Glavin. The haiku was written by Janice Scully, author of Salt City Verse.

Cardinal, feathered ~ masked bandit on a snowy ~ limb — all can see you!

Despite the politicalization of wearing a mask during this pandemic, the experience, like many others created by Covid-19, has captured the imagination of poets and artists everywhere. For us, haiku reflects this experience quite neatly.

Dread phantom of the
coronavirus awaits
final unmasking

by James and Barbara Yonai (Syracuse 2020)

What has been your experience this past year with wearing a mask? Let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear from you! And, be safe out there!

ᐇᐇᐇᐇᐇ  *****  ᐇᐇᐇᐇᐇ  *****  ᐇᐇᐇᐇᐇ  *****  ᐇᐇᐇᐇᐇ

Face masks, and first bumps’
socially six feet apart.
Be Corona safe.

by Patricia Teska (Syracuse 2020)

ᐇᐇᐇᐇᐇ  *****  ᐇᐇᐇᐇᐇ  *****  ᐇᐇᐇᐇᐇ  *****  ᐇᐇᐇᐇᐇ

posted by Rosalyn M. Carroll for the Syracuse Poster Project

Haiku For Veterans Day

💟💟💟💟💟💟💟💟💟💟💟

A well-written Haiku can say a lot in only a few words and 17 syllables–it can tell a story and even express deep emotions; it can also be political and make us pause to reflect upon the world around us. Like other forms of poetry, haiku can speak to war and peace, heroes and fallen soldiers, victory and defeat, freedom and sacrifice, and gratitude. 

Souls of the soldiers
march and quiet names surround
Freedom’s arena

by Mark Shevalier (Henderson 2007)

While Memorial Day is a day of solemn observance reserved to honor and remember all Americans who have died while serving in our country’s military service, Veterans Day is reserved for all Veterans who have served in our country’s Armed Forces whether in war or peace, alive or dead. 

Price of our freedom
evident within these walls,
veterans — heroes.

by Ellen Wheeler (Fayetteville 2012)

Originally called Armistice Day, this federal holiday commemorated the end of World War 1 — ‘the war to end all wars’. Its name was changed to Veterans Day in 1954 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and the holiday was eventually amended to honor and thank all American Veterans of all wars for their many sacrifices.

Heroes defended
Liberty and freedom rang
Stars and stripes rippled

by Michelle Miles (Denver 2016)

Our featured haiku poster this Veterans Day is from our 2019 Series. The colorful haiku was written by contributor, Michele Madonna and beautifully illustrated by community artist, Alyssa Dearborn. We think you’ll agree, the poster exemplifies the strength, freedom and goodness of our nation and its Veterans.

Flying on moonlight
above Onondaga’s waves
Eagle’s wings dancing

Monuments, ceremonies and parades typically celebrate Veterans Day. With the pandemic cancelling most of these special events this November, we hope you’ve enjoyed these few haiku from our archives that best express our observation of Veterans Day and our gratitude for all our Veterans!

Soldier’s homecoming
duties satisfied for now
Toddler gets a hug

by Pearl Popiak (Syracuse 2011)

Thank you!

Rosalyn M. Carroll for the Syracuse Poster Project

Haiku for a Summer’s End

✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻

Summer’s end is often bittersweet, isn’t it? The warm days, without the need of a jacket, quickly become a distant memory as the thermometer gradually drops to the low 50’s by mid- September. While sweaters replace shorts and flip-flops, the deep green leaves of the Geraniums turn yellow and the familiar sing-song of crickets begins to fade as windows close tight against chilly nights.

Ruby dragonfly
alights on the garden gate
Summer still lingers

by Joan Loveridge-Sanbonmatsu (Syracuse 2015)

No doubt you’ve noticed this slow change over the last few weeks, beginning with the pale sun rising later and later to mark the start of the day to its setting in the West way too soon in the early evening.

Owl hooted at Dawn
as she tucked in the Moon and
Stars — Morning rose Blue

by Rosalyn M. Carroll (Manlius 2020)

Aside from the date on the calendar–and children going back to school–there are other signs in Nature reminding us that this Summer of COVID-19 is coming to an end.

Overhead a skein
of honking geese stitch clouds in
gray and downy quilts

by Mary Taitt (Grosse Pointe Farms 2001)

Other signs of this colorful change in season include the multitude of farm stands that have cropped up (no pun intended) on country roads and on city streets.

mums, melon, mushrooms
Summer’s bountiful buffet–
bustling farm market.

by Evelyn Ayers-Marsh (Syracuse 2001)

When you think about it, this time of year is the only time in Central New York that you can enjoy sun-sweetened corn-on-the-cob and plump red, farm-grown tomatoes!

tomato-warmed palm,
teeth tear, taste ray’s explosion.
Sliced sunlight on bread.

by Rachael Ikins (Baldwinsville 2016)

The end of Summer is also elephant-high sunflowers and cornfields. It is golden bales of hay laying round and full on plowed-under fields. From our 2020 Series, our featured haiku poster deftly illustrates such a scene. The richly-worded haiku was written by Philip Nast and the colorfully detailed poster was illustrated by Tammra Cook.

yellow rounds of hay / cast shadows in stubbled field / sun slips behind hills

Perhaps one of the most telling signs that Summer is making its exit is the quiet at the bird feeder. As our feathered friends leave us for warmer climates, their departure ushers in the golden beauty of the Autumnal Equinox. They leave us with warm and cheerful memories along with the promise of new beginnings and peaceful days ahead.

Hummingbirds fly South
signaling Summer’s Swan Song
and Autumn arrives.

by Mark Calicchia (Letchworth State Park 2020)

A change of season, a change of light — what strikes you the most during these days of change? Let us know in the comments below or send us a haiku!

Be well and stay safe!

Rosalyn M. Carroll for the Syracuse Poster Project

✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻✻

Haiku For Social Distancing

************************************************************************

With the onset of COVID-19 lockdowns this past March, our lives have taken on a new normal. In some respects, by slowing down a bit these last several months, some things seem new again this Summer.

Listen: among gray
towering buildings, summer
crickets serenade.

by Mary Taitt (Grosse Pointe Farms 2001)

Along with directives on wearing masks and proper hand washing, we’ve added new terms to our vocabulary, such as self-quarantine and social distancing.

As summer sun sets,
ethereal realms emerge.
Firefly festival

by Michael McCollumn (Manlius 2013)

Despite signage with clever slogans everywhere you turn, staying 6 feet apart from each other has certainly been challenging—particularly when it’s been such a lovely Summer!

two blue dragonflies
settle into canal reeds –
uninhibited

by Karl Krohl (Syracuse 2013)

During this crisis, as we try to do our best to protect each other by following the rules of engagement, as it were, don’t look to the birds at your bird feeder for any guidance on how to do this…

Sunflower faces
A swoosh of yellow and black:
Goldfinch dinnertime

by Ellen Barnes Syracuse 2014

…or those sassy turtles who’ve emerged from murky depths for some sunshine…

Black armored turtles
Lie six to a limb, sunning
Erie beach party

by Rosalyn M. Carroll (Manlius 2016)

….and certainly, don’t ask any of the other wild creatures buzzing about on a warm, Summer’s night!

Summer night concert
black crickets on violins
bullfrogs on bassoons

by Martin Willitts Jr. Syracuse 2014

Of course, Mother Nature’s resistance to social distancing is easy to understand — it’s clearly not in her vocabulary! This is beautifully depicted in a poster from our 2020 Series. The delightful haiku was written by Sheila Forsyth and the wonderful poster was created by Amy Cunningham-Waltz. Find more of Amy’s stunning artwork here.

Lingering summer / Light fades—fireflies check in for / the evening shift

Pandemic or no, this Summer will end way too quickly. So, whether you’re working remotely or taking a well-deserved staycation at home, drink up the wonderful sights and sounds of August before they’re gone! And….”be smart, stay 6-feet apart”….

Days fly by—like wind,
like rain, like snowflakes—jewels
that melt on your tongue

by Craig Overbeck (Fayetteville 2019)

Stay Well!

Rosalyn M. Carroll for Syracuse Poster Project

Haiku For A COVID19 Summer

Tiger lilies bloom
Orange beauties of July–
Summer days fly by

by Rosalyn M. Carroll (Manlius 2020)

Hello, there! It’s hard to believe we’re closing in on the middle of July already! Summer — it’s way too short, but oh, so sweet!

Garden Festival
Plants dancing in the moonlight
Rutabaga Waltz

by Dale Sherman (Manlius 2011)

Air thickened like flour,
clouds whipped and mixed overhead.
Sweet, sticky rainfall.

by James Macris (Liverpool 2017)

Cumulus clouds float
in a deep-blue sky—downtown
petunias in bloom

by Jay Cox (Pompey 2001)

With many of us experiencing a variety of “new normals” due to COVID19, it’s good to know that one thing hasn’t changed this Summer: Mother Nature! In fact, it seems this Summer’s birdsong is brighter, the air cleaner and neighborhood roads are mostly unhurried.

Leaves of sunlight caught
in the arc of a rainbow
cattails sway and dance

by Bonnie Ryan (Syracuse 2017)

Thunder and Lightning
dance over Onondaga
‘til rainbows cut in

by Ellen Agnew (Syracuse 2008)

A Summer sunrise
over the downtown buildings
farmers’ dreams ripen

by Jungtae Lee (Syracuse 2006)

Our featured haiku poster is from our 2020 Series. With its colorful haiku written by Joan Dear-Houseman, the lovely summertime Poster was created by Ryan Wood, a Syracuse-based artist and designer.

Languid lavender dances slowly in the breeze―Honeybees rejoice

While the Summer of 2020 is still unfolding with pandemic uncertainties, the beauty and wonders of the season continue to shine through the many haiku of our talented contributors:

Dragonfly’s kiss makes
once still pond pulsate rings of
fractured clouds and trees

by Diane Lansing (Syracuse 2014)

It evaporates,
warm rain soothes irate asphalt
Summer spirit, rise

by Thomas Stock (Fort Plain 2013)

On a moonlit night
the inner harbor shimmers
in mid-summer heat

by David Manfredi (Syracuse 2009)

Enjoy these Summer daze while they’re here!! As always, please leave us a haiku in the comments if you’d like to share your Summer or COVID19 experience with us!

Riding through cities.
Hold on tight, red light, green light.
With wind in my hair.

by Grace Carroll (Syracuse 2014)

Oh, one more thing! In case you missed it, the opening reception for our 2020 Series was held virtually this year due to the pandemic lockdown in April. With all the Series’ poets and artists participating in a fabulous video created especially for this unique occasion, our Live Stream on April 23rd was a huge success! Cheering each other’s great work within our group’s Watch Party was great fun, too! You can still view our Virtual Unveiling Event via YouTube, here. Look for our new posters to go up in their usual downtown kiosk locations sometime this Summer! If you see one you like, visit our SHOP to purchase it!

Stay Well and Stay Safe!

Rosalyn M. Carroll for The Syracuse Poster Project

Haiku For Spring 2020

*************************************************************************************

Spring arrived early
splashing against my window
dreams interrupted

by Lynn McDonald (Ogden 2004)

Spring officially arrived this past week. So did COVID-19. And with it, a new normal has taken over everywhere with schools and businesses closing, social distancing, working remotely while sequestered to our homes in self-quarantine. A troubling disruption, with its own uncertainties, to say the least.

Spring snow–heavy, wet
downing tree limbs, power lines,
darkening our hearts

by Robert Stone (Baldwinsville 2015)

At this point, it might be hard to imagine how reading or writing haiku might make a difference to what’s going on. Reading poetry, prose, or even a good book, offers an escape from our daily worries as well as a chance to see new perspectives outside ourselves. Besides making us feel better, writing–whether you’re writing poetry, prose or journaling–can give us a sense of control and purpose and can help us make sense of difficult times. Writing also offers us an opportunity to reflect on all the things we love. It’s a place where we can freely express our thoughts and feelings, observations and experiences.

Red brick, gray concrete
plant pushes up through the gap
life blooms overnight

by Peter Allen (Syracuse 2016)

Our featured haiku poster is from our 2018 Series. A wonderful reflection of Spring, Sean Conrey (Syracuse 2015) crafted his noteworthy haiku while observing: “We’re always waiting for that moment for spring to begin; a leaf coming out, one little bud, it’s going to happen at some point.” Beautifully illustrated by former Syracuse University Illustration student, Jake Penman, who chose this haiku “…. because I feel like it speaks to the kind of person I am, or at least the kind of tonality that I like to illustrate in my work. I really enjoy drawing trees, life, and images of nature. A lot of the work I do is in pen and ink, and a lot of natural structures—branches, roots, and trunks—do very well in pen and ink. I feel like the complexity of the roots is visually similar to cardiac vessels or streams running through hills. It’s just the way the line moves between, like if you’re following a river downstream, or if you’re following a tree branch from a trunk’s base—it’s very similar. Whatever is causing that similarity is what I try to get at, not just visually, but emotionally.”

A spring breeze still cold / All nerves beneath the black oak / A new leaf unfurls

We hope these few reflections on the arrival of Spring have cheered you and given you some food for thought. Unlike the unsettling throes of a pandemic, Spring is certainly one constant we can depend on year in and year out. The interesting thing is, what kind of Spring will it be?

March into April,
Shed the outer cloak, breathe and
Take the umbrella….

by Michelle M. Miles (Israel 2016)

Wishing you well — stay safe!

*************************************************************************************

Haiku for a Rainy Spring

To the chagrin of many, rain has predominated the weather this Spring. In fact, it’s hard to believe it’s mid-June already, what with Summer officially beginning in a few days! One has to ask, where, oh where, is the sun?

To cheer you up, we’ve dug out some haiku dedicated to Rain…yes, Rain…

From Jeanne Viggiano (Syracuse, 2009) comes a haiku which perfectly describes a rainy workday and the promise of a dry, sunny evening!

Rain pelts the sidewalks.
Lunch hour is a duck and dash.
Forecast: sun by five.

You’ve heard that phrase, “We need the rain”? Well, one benefit of all the rain this Spring has been the lush greens and gorgeous colors of its slow-blooming flowers. Renee-Noelle Felice (Syracuse 2011) says it well in her haiku:

After weeks of rain,
hollyhocks–deep pink and red–
big as salad plates

Have you ever just sat and listened to the rain falling? Frequent haiku contributor, Anne Mackenzie (Skaneateles, 2014), hears something beautiful:

woodland canopy
raindrops tap-dancing on leaves
ageless lullaby

Listening to the rain takes another shape in this delightful haiku by poet, Nicholas Petrone (Syracuse, 2010):

wooden boards beneath
Ruskin front porch rocker creak
steady rain keeps time

Our featured haiku poster is from our 2004 Series. The bright haiku was written by long-time contributor, Marilyn Shelton; the illustration colorfully created by former Syracuse University
student, Marlene Heuer.

silver drops of rain / suddenly, a bright garden / of umbrellas blooms

Of course, when all else fails, there’s nothing like getting your Gene Kelly on, like Rosalyn Carroll (Manlius, 2016) does in her haiku:

With a steady beat,
rain strikes my umbrella—I’m
dancin’ in the rain

Stay dry! And, as the old song goes, “let a smile be your umbrella”!

Posted by Rosalyn M. Carroll for the Syracuse Poster Project


***************************** **Haiku For Memorial Day** *****************************

************************************************************************

Souls of the soldiers / march and quiet names surround / Freedom’s arena
by Mark Shevalier (Henderson 2007)

A well-written Haiku can say a lot in only a few words and 17 syllables–it can tell a story and even express deep emotions; it can also be political and make us pause to reflect upon the world around us. Like other forms of poetry, haiku can speak to war and peace, heroes and fallen soldiers, victory and defeat, freedom and sacrifice.

Heroes defended / Liberty and freedom rang / Stars and stripes rippled by Michelle Miles (Denver  2016)

Originally referred to in the late 1860’s as Decoration Day–a day of remembrance when mourners could grace the graves of the Civil War’s dead with flowers–Memorial Day became a national holiday in 1971.  It remains a day of solemn observance; a day reserved to honor and remember all Americans who have died while serving in our country’s military service.  

Run run Jerry run / freedom is at hand oh Lord / helpful hands stretch out by Pat Flowers (Columbus 2006)

Memorial Day is also a day to celebrate our many freedoms, the unique cause that these American servicemen and servicewomen died for.

Our featured haiku poster this Memorial Day is from our 2004 Series.  It was written by frequent contributor, Jay Cox and illustrated by former Syracuse University student, Steve Kim.  We think you’ll agree, the poster exemplifies the beauty of our monuments to remembrance, peace and freedom.

The blue sky ripples / and clouds stream by in the water / fountain reflections

As we remember those who fought for our freedom, we hope you’ve enjoyed these few haiku from our archives that best express our observation of Memorial Day!


Posted by Rosalyn M. Carroll for the Syracuse Poster Project


					

Haiku For March Madness

Here at the Syracuse Poster Project, a lot of haiku submitted and contributed by our fine poets, highlight observations and sensory experiences found in the world around us. Topics run the gamut, from Mother Nature to our love of music, holiday celebrations and even sporting events!

To celebrate March Madness — the kind of madness when hoops, top seeds, Selection Sunday, brackets and hopeful Cinderella’s, take on a life of their own — we’ve opened up our archives to some fun haiku with an eye on Basketball!

Spoiler Alert: What with Syracuse University in our front yard, many of the haiku presented below highlight the Syracuse Orange games held at the Dome on the SU Hill.

In that airy Dome
orange knights vow grand conquest
Big East battleground!

by Robert Stone (Baldwinsville, 2008)

The stakes are rising,
screams echoing through the Dome,
the shot’s up, it’s in!

by Nolen Brann (Jamesville, 2018)

Hoops hysteria
basketball stars down the court
Orange Carrier

by Jennifer Fulco (Syracuse, 2012)

Our featured haiku poster is from our 2008 Series. The colorful haiku was written by poet, Pat Flowers and beautifully illustrated by former Syracuse University Illustration student, Gabe Eng-Goetz, now working as a professional artist and designer; he is also the founder of Runaway.

Fenced in glory hoops / leap in air toward heaven / endless chatter scores

From the 68 teams selected from across the country, to the Sweet Sixteen, to the Elite Eight, and down to the Final Four, March Madness is certainly an exciting tradition to welcome Spring!

The town with the MOST
We play basketball and boast
On streets we all coast

by Nick Ghezzi (Canastota, 2011)

Posted by Rosalyn M. Carroll for the Syracuse Poster Project

Haiku to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀

This year’s wintry mix of weather has not dampened the spirited shenanigans of St. Patrick’s Day revelers here in Central New York.  From parades and concerts to hearty helpings of corned beef and cabbage, St. Patrick’s Day is one of our favorite holidays! From our archives, please enjoy these cheerful haiku dedicated to this Irish celebration!

🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀

Green attire swishes
Fast feet, giddy crowds sip ale
Leprechauns walk by

By Pearl Popiak (Syracuse 2011)

Parades, Irish music, food and drink, are among the ways we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Salina Street wears
a green stripe and marching bands
on St. Patrick’s Day

By Nan Gartner (Fayetteville 2007)

It’s a day to revel in the sounds of bagpipes, bodhrans, Irish flutes and fiddles! And, it’s a great day for Irish dancing and singing of Danny Boy!

Dancers jig and clap
Bagpipes blast a cheering tune
Leprechauns skip by

By Gabrielle Gardner (Camillus 2013)

It’s a day that would be incomplete without corned beef and cabbage or a frothy Guinness Stout at your favorite Irish pub. Best of all, St Patrick’s Day is a sweet prelude to warmer weather!

on St. Patrick’s Day
the city dances with green,
welcoming Spring

By Heidi Stephens (North Syracuse 2008)

Our featured haiku poster on this special occasion is from our 2007 Series. The cheerful haiku was written by Jennifer Sanford and the poster beautifully illustrated by our own, Joseph Murphy, when he was an illustration student at Syracuse University. Joe is one of our Board Members; you can learn more about his work, here.

Our Irish landmark / Green light proudly wears the crown / Tipperary Hill

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Rosalyn M. Carroll for Syracuse Poster Project

Haiku For A Winter’s Day

Ice and snow and howling winds — oh, my! Just when the sun peeks out for a day or two, Winter strikes back for one more round of cold, grey days. We’ve written here before of Winter’s many faces and while daylight is lasting longer–thank goodness–this singular season is anything but over! So, before we bid adieu to February blizzards, black ice, wind chill, freak rain storms, thick fog and ice tsunamis, here is one more wintry blog to enjoy.

From our archives of submitted haiku:

With Jean Fahey’s (Syracuse 2017) haiku, the brilliant warmth of a Winter sun on a crisp and clear morning after days of snow is wonderful—-take out your sunglasses!

the dazzling sunlight
after snowstorm is over
makes diamonds of snow

If you have little kids, you’ll know that by wearing one’s pj’s inside out all snowy night long, there’s a good chance of a sensational snow-day tomorrow…you can almost hear the groans of disappointment in Erin McConnell’s (LaFayette 2010) haiku:

Up early for school.
Snowplow rumbles on the road.
No snow-day today.

A cold, wintry scene is set in Marsha Egan’s (Cicero 2009) dramatic haiku:

Snow blankets the earth:
the brittle silence is broken
by passing footsteps.

Winter storms aren’t complete without a little wind howling through bare trees and underneath the roof eaves! Rosalyn Carroll (Manlius 2019) wrote this haiku during one such storm:

Wild winter winds crashed
through the trees knocked on my door
Delivered fresh snow

Our featured haiku poster—-from our 2012 Series—-says it all on a cold, snowy day in late February! The poem was written by our frequent haiku contributor, Michele Reed, and illustrated by former Syracuse University illustration student, Anna Rettberg, now a busy and successful illustrator living in Seattle. See more of her wonderful work here.

Hear the snow crunch / underfoot as I’m walking / I dream of the beach

We’ll leave you with this artistic point of view from Mary Taitt (Grosse Pointe Farms, 2011):

Snowflakes in simple
brushstrokes sweep over drifts, pile
in long arching curves.

Stay Warm — only 21 more days ‘til Spring!

Rosalyn M. Carroll for Syracuse Poster Project

Haiku For A Valentine

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Valentine’s Day–a sweetheart of a day, dedicated to the celebration of love! Symbolized by red hearts and roses, chocolate kisses and candle-lit dinners, whimsical cards and love poems, it’s one of our favorite days of the year!

Haiku being our forte, we’re often searching our archives for poems and haiku posters that perfectly fit an occasion or holiday. For this St. Valentine’s Day post, we come back to these wonderful haiku from our talented contributors.

Oubon Phommanyrath’s (Syracuse 2013) poem beautifully elicits love and transcends the ordinary:

I chase the song of
life. My heart knows the hidden
path where love finds me.

From Meg Catanzarita, (Syracuse 2010), a whimsical haiku whose word-play has Valentine’s Day all over it:

Alphabet clusters
beget confabulation
PS I Love You

Frequent haiku contributor, Marilyn Shelton (Dunmore 2003) sweetly notes a merry and colorful moment between two sweethearts:

Young opera moon,
you caught us stealing kisses
Under red awnings!

And, Sandra Hewett’s haiku (Syracuse 2014) sets the scene for a memorable Valentine’s Day dinner:

Candles glow brightly
On the table as we eat
Faces full of love

Speaking of love and romance, it might be frightfully cold outside, but our featured 2007 Syracuse Poster Project haiku poster is sure to warm you up on this St. Valentine’s Day. The poet is long-time Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Robert Gaurnier; the poster was illustrated by former Syracuse University Illustration student, Bret Supranowicz, now working as a designer and illustrator in New York City.

Beneath many stars / diners feast on sweet music / in Armory Square

If you’re stuck for an idea for something special to give your sweetheart, feel free to download one of our specially commissioned St. Valentine’s Day cards here. As we have done in years past, each of our Valentine’s Day cards are created with a wonderful background and enough space to give you an opportunity to write your own love poem. Our 2019 card can be downloaded here. It was artfully designed by Jiaqi Liu, our Spring semester graphic design intern.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Rosalyn M. Carroll for Syracuse Poster Project

Haiku For A Heat Wave

Since the Summer Solstice, it’s been sunny and warm–just the way Summer should be! But, with a heat wave hovering about for a few weeks now, we could all use some relief! What better way to survive the heat than by reading some wonderful haiku from our archives which warmly reflect this Summertime occurrence!  

When it’s hot, Joan Loveridge-Sanbonmatsu’s (Syracuse 2008) cheerful haiku describes one way to find some quick relief:

In Summer’s fierce heat
Sparrow hops into backyard
birdbath: cooling, splash.

Mary Gardner’s (Skaneateles 2003) vivid haiku reflects how Summer and the many opportunities for outdoor musical activities go hand-in-hand…despite the heat:

Heat hung low and haze
Hinders not these hearts at play–
Music in the square

The familiar sounds of a Summer’s heat wave are nicely reflected in Ellen Agnew’s (Syracuse 2005) spirited haiku:

Waves of locust songs
ebb and flow with no excuse
except Summer heat.

And, Ruthnie Angrand (Syracuse 2014) offers an energizing prescription for those of you who are fitness or sports minded and love Summer’s many opportunities to be outdoors:

Drip. Stew. Drive. Swelter.
Severe heat and haze, focus.
West. Run. Keep Running.

You can practically feel the heat of the street and its buildings with this beautifully illustrated haiku poster from our 2010 Series.  Illustrated by former Syracuse University Illustration student, Hee Soo Cho, the poster heartily reflects the glowing words of Michael McAnaney’s haiku.

Summer sun mirrors / a gallery of faces / Salina glitters

2010_McAnaney_Cho.jpg

Lastly, we’d like to thank our readers for their responses to our last blog (see Haiku For a Summer Solstice).  We received this delightful Summertime haiku from Yvonne Kovits (Little Falls  2018)–there’s no denying the music of Summer found her poem! Thanks, Yvonne!

Warm breeze, colored sky
Crickets lite chatter, toads croak
Peaceful twilight..mosquito

Summer.  It’s here at long last! Stay Cool and read Haiku!

 

Haiku For A Summer Solstice

The Summer Solstice: a day to celebrate the first day of Summer! And with that, some of our favorite Summertime activities come alive with haiku from our archives!

From Jennifer Groff, (Lancaster 2010), a colorful haiku with great imagery and a wonderful play on words:

Freshly picked berries
Summer-stained fingers and lips–
memory preserves

So many rich Summer images in Nan Gartner’s, (Fayetteville 2011), haiku, too:

Purple Loosestrife and
Yellow Finches brighten the
Canal bikers’ path

From poet, Martin Willitts, Jr., (Syracuse 2011), an imaginative Summertime haiku with an interesting twist:

Syracuse Summer
Heid’s hot dog clouds, ominous,
digested by sun

Enjoying music and the outdoors–a favorite Summertime activity–lyrically described by Jay Cox, (Pompey, 2003):

Texas Blues drift with
the moonlight through a Summer
night in Clinton Square

From Meg Catanzarita, (Syracuse 2009), a Summer sports-themed haiku served up with another set of a rhythmic play on words:

Sedgwick Farm hosts love
Red clay courts city players
Singles anyone?

And, on the heels of the Summer Solstice, the long lazy days of Summer provide a time for reflection and pensive introspection. Our featured poster is from our 2018 Series. Wistfully written by long-time Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Omanii Abdullah, this Summer-themed poster was deliciously illustrated by Syracuse University Illustration student, Claudia Lewis.

I sold lemonade / back when times were innocent / and not bittersweet

2018 Abdullah_Lewis

As we observe the sunny arrival of the Summer Solstice, a double-edged haiku for you to ponder from first-time Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Charlie Carroll, (Manlius 2017):

Summer Solstice joy!
Alas…now the slide begins
T’wards Winter’s darkness.

Do you observe the Summer Solstice with a special tradition? What do you look forward to once Summer has arrived? Share your thoughts in a haiku in the comments below and we’ll add them to the next blog!

Cheers!

Haiku For Syracuse

On Memorial Day, freedom is one of many blessings we celebrate.  As a special day of remembrance, Memorial Day is also a reminder of the costs of freedom–including the costs to those we continue to protect against tyranny.  As they make the oft-times wrenching decision to leave their homeland behind, people from around the globe who flee war, political oppression and poverty, hope that freedom, safety and a better life will one day be theirs.

One of the main themes of this year‘s Syracuse Poster Project Series was that of Syracuse as a City of Welcome–for the hundreds of refugees and immigrants who set sail for the United States, many land here in Central New York!  Two artists, Nicora Gangi and Nada Odeh, were commissioned by the Poster Project to illustrate this theme.  Local poets were given the opportunity to write and submit haiku inspired by the beautiful images displayed in the two posters.  As you can see below, the haiku chosen for these two posters–one by long time Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Vinh Dang and the other, by poet, Jean Fahey–were splendid.

At the April unveiling, which happened to fall as it always does during National Poetry Month, artist, Nada Odeh, spoke of what inspired her to create her illustration and why she chose Vinh Dang’s haiku: “…. The boat image in my poster represents the crisis of the refugees seeking hope and a safe place to stay. It portrays a strong visual and overwhelming emotions while questioning how these people had to go through such harsh living conditions in their native countries. They are seeking refuge in another country and hoping to be welcome regardless of their origin or political status. The reason why I chose this haiku is because it speaks for me in a simple way and reminds me of how I feel about living in Syracuse.”  

Poet, Vinh Dang, a quiet spoken gentleman, recalled his own journey from Vietnam to America and the challenges of  building a new home in Syracuse while still keeping memories of his homeland close to his heart.  2018Dang_OdehHis haiku was inspired by these memories, as he stated, “…But what most inspired me was the greyish blue smoke flowing out of each family’s thatched roof, where mothers and wives were cooking the evening meal, promising a sweet reunion of the whole family under an oil lamp.”

 

White clouds drifting where? Over ocean or dark wood. Homeland hearth–blue smoke

 

Artist, Nicora Gangi, was unable to attend the event’s festivities, but she writes about her work, “…. I envisioned a round table positioned at the center to illustrate symbolically a place where a culture meal is shared, one’s national stories can be told, and events past, present or future can be discussed. A variety of written languages decorated the borders of the image to refer to the nations. There is a Syracuse city skyline in the background to convey that the city is here to welcome all nations from around the globe.”  

Ms. Gangi’s illustration spoke to Jean Fahey’s pride in Syracuse as a Sanctuary City.  She writes, “…We are their beacon of hope, the promise for a better tomorrow. 2018Fahey_GangiOur city was named for a beautiful city in Sicily by people who fled there to start a new life; for freedom and a chance to be anything they want to become. Since then, other people from different countries have fled here for different reasons but seeking the same dream. We are their light in the darkness. We are their new home.”

 

A beacon of hope, city of welcoming arms–a place to call home

 

You can find photos from the April unveiling event, here.  Please be sure to check out the other beautiful and inspired posters from the 2018 Series, here, or in designated kiosks throughout downtown Syracuse.  And, don’t forget, if you love these posters, you can always purchase them at our online shop, here!

So, if you are new to these pages or to our fair city of Syracuse…Welcome!

This is your home,                                                                                                                                          you whisper in my ear.  Here is                                                                                                                      where your roots will grow.                                                                                                                                                              By Karen Krull Robart

A Haiku for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day. Bouquets of flowers and blue, Forget-Me-Nots.  They seem synonymous, don’t they?

To celebrate this very special day, we searched our archive of haiku posters and found the wonderful gem below from our 2004 Series!  

Written by frequent Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Marilyn Shelton, the colorful poster was illustrated by former Syracuse University illustration student, Aja Gibson.

Corner vendor shouts / Flowers! Flowers! Flowers! Makes / City women smile

2004Shelton_Gibson

Happy Mother’s Day!

Haiku For St. Patrick’s Day

🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀

Green attire swishes
Fast feet, giddy crowds sip ale
Leprechauns walk by

By Pearl Popiak (Syracuse 2011)

Parades, Irish music, food and drink, are all hallmarks of how we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

a green line runs through
downtown streets–St Patrick’s Day
paraders walk it

By Rosalyn M. Carroll (Manlius 2013)

It’s a day to revel in the sounds of bagpipes, bodhrans, Irish flutes and fiddles! And, it’s a great day for Irish dancing and singing of Danny Boy!

Dancers jig and clap
Bagpipes blast a cheering tune
Leprechauns skip by

By Gabrielle Gardner (Camillus 2013)

It’s a day that would be incomplete without corned beef and cabbage or a frothy Guinness Stout at your favorite Irish pub! Best of all, St Patrick’s Day is a sweet prelude to warmer weather!

on St. Patrick’s Day
the city dances with green,
welcoming Spring

By Heidi Stephens (North Syracuse 2008)

Syracuse Poster Project is celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with haiku, of course, and we’re offering a specially themed poster from our 2014 Series at a 10% discount from our online shop here. The well-crafted haiku was written by self-published poet, Seneca Wilson, and colorfully illustrated by former Syracuse University Illustration Student, Erick Friely, now a professional Illustrator and Visual Development Artist based out of Oakland, CA. Learn more about Erick’s work here.  We’ve even made a video of this fine poster for your viewing pleasure! Click here to view!

Luck of the Irish / Green beer, white snow, orange pride / Reversed traffic light

2014Wilson_Friely

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀

Haiku for Winter Storms

Remember that old saying, “When March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb”? Well, let’s hope it holds true this year! Since March 1, Winter storms have wreaked havoc up and down the East Coast, dropping snow, rain and sleet from Hilton Head to Connecticut to London to the French Alps; they’ve caused power failures across New York State; and broken tree limbs are strewn about everywhere one looks!  Quite a lion of a start if there ever was one!

As Michelle Miles (currently, in sunny and warm Amman, Jordan) wrote this week:

A haiku would say
that springtime is on its way–
but first, a detour!

Meanwhile, the not so melodious sounds of snow blowers, snow shovels and loud, rumbling snow plows, continue to break the sometimes eerie silence of softly falling snow! A search of our archives reveals many haiku contributed by Central New Yorkers who’ve contemplated our fierce Winter snow storms alongside the sound–and the glory–of these useful snow storm tools! Here are a few to consider as you look out your window at the falling March snow!

From Thomas Michael Duncan (East Syracuse 2011), you know it’s going to be a long day for the city’s snow plow driver:

Accumulations.
The monstrous yellow machines
remove snow–spread salt.

A beautiful image from Laura Ferrel (Skaneateles 2013):

Pre-dawn whirs and scrapes–
a community chorus
born of snowy nights

A familiar scene, aptly described by Chen Chen (Syracuse 2014) — read more about this talented A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize winning author here:

Just the front scraped clean–
our car after blizzard wears
a mullet of snow

Our featured poster is a fine tribute to Winter snow storms! It’s from our 2011 Series with the clever haiku by Jim Kenty (Syracuse 2008) and the colorful illustration by former Syracuse University Illustration student, Maura McGonagle.

Syracuse snowflakes / meet their fate on the blade of / my shovel of doom

2011_Kenty_McGonagle

Aside from waiting for Spring to arrive by mid-March, if we learn anything from late Winter snow storms, it’s learning to have patience. However, if your street doesn’t get plowed for hours, you may feel like Elizabeth Patton (Elbridge 2008), in her vivid haiku:

Armies of snowplows
Invade snowbound neighborhoods
Winter prison break

Or, rather than impatience, you may feel like Ellen Agnew (Syracuse 2005):

as snow plows lumber
through the blizzard leftovers
grateful cars make room

Here’s hoping March goes out like a lamb!

Haiku for St. Valentine’s Day

If you follow us on FaceBook and Twitter, or if you receive our newsletter, you know that St. Valentine’s Day is one of our favorite occasions!  Over the last couple of years, besides highlighting love-themed haiku from our archives on this Blog, we have offered St. Valentine’s Day cards to download–free of charge–from our Website.  With some, by adding your own words of love with a specially commissioned drawing, you have the perfect card for your special Valentine!

For this year’s card, we turned to long-time friend of the Syracuse Poster Project, William Padgett, for both his design skills and for his aesthetic and poetic sensibility.  To view and download this latest addition to our special collection of St. Valentine’s Day cards, check out the “Free Stuff” section of our Website.  Pictured below, this year’s card celebrates both St. Valentine’s Day and the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Cold Ice, Warm Heart. Happy Valentine’s Day!

2padgett

And….speaking of the many ways we express love, please enjoy our featured haiku Poster below from our 2013 Series. The poster’s warm haiku was written by Tom Rhoads, who comments, “This particular haiku is really just about the love and loyalty of an old friend and how that love and loyalty is a special joy.”  The poster was illustrated by former Syracuse University Illustration Student, Katie Hampton, now a Massachusetts-based artist/designer currently working as a Digital Production Design Specialist at Forrester Research in Cambridge, MA.  Check out her collection of wonderful work here.  

Old and loyal friend, waking to find pure fresh snow, leaps like a puppy.
2013Rhoads_Hampton

If you like this poster, you can find it for sale in our Shop section of our Website here.

This February, have a wonderful St. Valentine’s Day! Enjoy the Winter Olympics! And, stay warm!

Rosalyn M. Carroll for The Syracuse Poster Project

Warm Weather on Your Mind?

If you’re on our mailing list, or follow us on social media, you know that we frequently highlight our activities and events with a short newsletter-style email blast. This short bulletin also features a poster from our archives that best matches our latest news–and, it’s usually offered at a special discount! (**See how you can get on our mailing list below!)

Our latest newsletter teases us out of our Winter doldrums with a wonderful haiku poster from our 2013 Series showcasing Columbus Circle on a bright Summer’s day. Written by Ricky Maeweather and illustrated by Walter Kampf-Lassin, this wonderful scene certainly allows us to forget–even for a moment–the cold, dreary weather we’ve been having this January!

large buildings stand tall / the center always crowded / square blocks building lofts

298_07_Maeweather_Kampf-Lassin

It will be a few months yet until the sun warms us up as it does in this bright haiku poster, but we are always warmed by the responses we receive from our followers to things we’ve written about in our newsletter–and, our blog!

In fact, we’d like to say ‘thanks’ to our long-time–and now, long-distance–friend of the Syracuse Poster Project, Patricia Rickard, for her comment to our Columbus Circle dispatch.  From sunny Florida, where she is researching publishers for her book, ‘The Complete Guide to Child-Centered Musical Theater’, Patricia writes, “I hear from family and friends back in Syracuse and the North Country that Winter is already old and cold, and it’s only January.  Spring will eventually come to Syracuse in two more months!! So, close your eyes and be transported with this Haiku!”

Sun, Sea, Sand, Blue Skies;
Palm Trees Sway, Seagulls Swooping;
Red Hibiscus Bloom!

How simply marvelous…can you feel the warmth, now, of a soft, sunny blue day in January? Thank you, Patricia!

So, hang in there all you Central New Yorkers…it’s almost February!!

Rosalyn M. Carroll for the Syracuse Poster Project


**If you’d like to join our mailing list to receive news about our activities, invitations to submit poetry and notices of shopping deals, please contact us here. We’ll keep you informed by email and occasionally by direct postal mail. Rest assured, we do not share contact information or email addresses.

Haiku to Warm Up January

Snow and slush and sleet
and rain and hail–and sun!–and
clouds and ice and salt.

Typical of January, it’s been cold and snowy–and everything else inbetween–as mischievously described in Matt Tompkins’ (Owego 2013) haiku above. Dark frigid nights seem to last forever this time of year, too, though daylight is (thankfully) lasting longer. Haiku has the perfect ability to express these Winter days in such a way that you can nearly forget it’s January…well, almost! Try warming up with these few other haiku found in our archives and written by our wonderful contributors.

When it’s not too cold or blustery, January offers a great time to be outdoors. In this colorful haiku, poet Lee Savidge (Liverpool 2013) sets a sensory mood for a day skiing. Can you feel the anticipation?…the thrill of a good day on the slopes?…not noticing the cold on your face?

Perfect packed powder,
exhilarating ski trails–
lean forward and smile!

In just a few words, Kate Stewart’s (Cazenovia 2012) haiku beautifully describes a different kind of sensory experience only known during the long Winter months:

Snow diamonds twinkle.
Crisp night air, I hear only
Softly, gliding skis.

Like skiing, if you have ever snowshoed, you know you’ve left an indelible path on your journey. If it should snow overnight, you might have trouble finding that path again in the morning. But on a clear, moonlit night, you might not have any problem at all–as cleverly described in Joan Cofrancesco’s haiku (Camillus 2001):

moon looms over pines
along the Beaver Lake trail
snowshoes left behind

Reminiscent of the first ‘no school day’ of January, our featured haiku poster is from our 2014 Series. The haiku, with the wonderful play on words, was written by Dianne Emmick and richly illustrated by former Syracuse University student, Ash Merkel, now a working artist whose fine illustrations, sketches and ceramic work can be found here.

Cars trapped in driveways. / Skiers glide softly mid—street / Making morning tracks.

2014Emmick_Merkel

Speaking of ‘snow days’ have you noticed the neighborhood kids with their sleds? Do you remember, as a kid yourself, climbing that big hill in your own backyard, dragging up your new red Flying Saucer, holding on tight and getting that head-start of a push from behind? If you do, you’ll enjoy this haiku by Elisabeth Anderson, (Lafayette 2001):

We haul our sleds up,
and push off.  Trees blur, snow leaps
aside. We can fly!

All in all, when you have a haiku warming your insides, January isn’t too bad! Do you have a Winter haiku to share? Send it in the comments below and we will post it in our next Blog!  As Thomas Stock (Fort Plain 2014) cheerily writes, Winter can be a sensory feast:

I am your haiku
in red ski vest gliding through
your white city park

Stay Warm!

Rosalyn M. Carroll for the Syracuse Poster Project

A Haiku Nod to Sunflowers

As the end of Summer draws near, sturdy Sunflowers still stand shoulder high.  While their full-seeded heads seem to be nodding, Farewell, their brilliant shades of yellow add a unique dimension to the colorful arrival of Autumn.  

From our archives, we found some Sunflower-themed haiku to share with you–what better way to show our appreciation for this beautiful flower that bridges Summer into Autumn!

Brilliant sunflowers                                                                                                                                       cast against slate sky, red birds                                                                                                                       fly in for dinner                                                                                                                                                                          by Sheila Forsyth (Fayetteville 2008)

 Lofty sunflowers                                                                                                                                             arrayed in golden splendor                                                                                                                           heads above the rest                                                                                                                                                            by Sharon Rorer (Syracuse 2007)

Van Gogh Sunflowers                                                                                                                                      paint themselves across the fields                                                                                                                  Camillus, New York                                                                                                                                                           by Joan Cofrancesco (Camillus 2009)

From our 2010 Syracuse Poster Project Series, our featured haiku poster was written by Claire Bobrycki and illustrated by former Syracuse University student, Catherine LaPointe, now a children’s book illustrator and graphic designer–see more of her wonderful work here.

Blue Moon, Big Dipper / Sunflowers under porch lights / Peace on the South Side

2010Bobrycki_LaPointe

We conclude with three more gems:

Sunflowers drooping                                                                                                                                      looking for a warm embrace                                                                                                                        oh, where is the sun?                                                                                                                                                                   by Kelly Bargabos (Syracuse 2010)

Sunflower faces                                                                                                                                               a swoosh of yellow and black:                                                                                                                        goldfinch dinnertime                                                                                                                                                               by Ellen Barnes (Syracuse 2014)

A smile on your face                                                                                                                                         is brighter than sunflowers                                                                                                                         at the farmer’s stand                                                                                                                                                                  by Jungtae Lee (Syracuse 2006)

We hope you’ve enjoyed our brief tribute to the Sunflower! What do you see when you gaze upon a Sunflower?  

Hot Haiku

Summertime, when days are warm and humid…we’ve had a few of them here in Central New York recently.  It’s days like these that make Summer simmer (no pun intended)!  If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you know that we often highlight seasonal themes, sometimes focusing on singular characteristics of the season we’re in. Hot, humid and hazy Summer days happen to be the subject of many haiku found in our archives contributed by Central New York poets.  We thought it would be timely to add these to our Blog before Summer ‘daze’ slip away.

There’s a unique sound to warm Summer days. You can practically hear the sultriness in this fine haiku written by frequent Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Ellen Agnew (Syracuse 2005):

waves of locust songs                                                                                                                                                                          ebb and flow with no excuse                                                                                                                                                       except Summer heat

Along with spindly grasshoppers, the sound of crickets and cicadas are even more noticeable when days are long and warm.  It’s easy to imagine the captivating scene detailed in Anna Pyrohanych’s (Auburn) colorful 2012 haiku:

Sun sets, moon rises–                                                                                                                                                                  Shimmer across still waters…                                                                                                                                                       Summer crickets sing

When there’s a stretch of days in the high 80’s, even the inevitable thunderstorm offers little relief, as perfectly described in Karl Krohl’s (Syracuse) 2015 haiku:

Thunderheads tower                                                                                                                                                                           Summer, a breathless haze–still                                                                                                                                                            the cicadas drone

From our 2006 Poster Series, former Syracuse University Illustration student, Lauren Katz, beautifully conceived Jane Cassady’s (Philadelphia 2005) fine haiku:

Humid moon rises / over the stopped clock tower / like a real city

89_04_Cassady _Katz

Now that it’s August, you can forget the heat with this delightful haiku by another frequent Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Mary Gardner (Skaneateles 2003):

Heat hung low and haze                                                                                                                                                                    Hinders not these hearts at play–                                                                                                                                                   Music in the square

Speaking of music, don’t let the heat deter you from enjoying the other sounds of Summer as Sheila Forsyth’s (Fayetteville 2008) haiku vividly describes:

Sizzling riffs from sax                                                                                                                                                                            “Jazz in the City” heats up                                                                                                                                                                        Cool, full moon evening

Finally, there’s no doubt we’ve all shared Michele Reed’s (Oswego) feelings from time to time as crisply expressed in her 2015 haiku:

sound of cicadas                                                                                                                                                                                       on a sultry Summer’s eve                                                                                                                                                                        and I dream of snow

What do you find distinctive about warm Summer days?  However you spend these remaining hot, hazy ‘daze’, stay cool!

Cloudy Haiku

In just a few syllables, Haiku are a perfect way to capture a scene, a memory, or even a mood.  Regardless the season–or time of day–clouds can do pretty much the same thing. Mountainous thunderstorm clouds can be majestic.  Serene, wispy cirrus clouds can make a sunset heavenly.  In color and shape, or by how quickly they’re moving, clouds will let you know if you need to carry an umbrella or if you’re likely to rev up the snowblower–in which case, if they’re very low and grey, you might consider going back to bed!  But, on a bright Summer’s day, when clouds are drifting lazily, high in the sky, watching these seemingly magical shapeshifters is pure joy.

From our archives of contributed haiku, we’ve selected a cloud-themed few for your Summer reading pleasure.  Can you tell which season the poet is describing?  Have you ever experienced the same feelings as expressed in the haiku?  Do you remember a day the clouds were just like those characterized by the poet?

From Cynthia Perrine (Fabius 2015):

Sun breaks through the clouds / Mist rises from the water / Day begins anew

From Jay Cox (Pompey 2005):

Cumulus clouds float / in a deep-blue sky–downtown / petunias in bloom.

From Pamela Lynch (Oneida 2013):

Fronts collide to paint / phenomenal cloud skyscapes / Swirling overhead

From Michael Brigandi (Syracuse 2014):

Playing in the grass / Childhood days slipping away / Like clouds rolling by

From Nancy Preston (Syracuse 2013):

Clouds heaped like meringue / cumulus jubilation! / Summer sky party

From Maggie James (Syracuse 2010):

One, then two at once! / Colorful balloons drift east / Low clouds they vanish…

From Diane Lansing (Syracuse 2014):

Dragonfly’s kiss makes / once still pond pulsate rings of / fractured clouds and trees.

From our 2004 Syracuse Poster Project Series, a wonderful display of Summer.  The haiku was written by Jennifer Sanford and the poster illustrated by Cally Jones, former Syracuse University Illustration student.

Summer breezes lift / gull and dragon kites across / Onondaga Lake

2004 Sanford_Jones

Wishing you carefree Summer days where, as Rosalyn M. Carroll (Manlius 2017) writes:

Daydreaming on a / Cotton candy cloud–oh, the / Places I can see

 

Haiku to Welcome Summer

At long last, it’s coming on Summer!  From our archive of contributed haiku, we’ve found a few to highlight the return of this sunny season.

Spring flowers have faded, making way for bright Summer blooms.  Everything’s comin’ up roses, too, as vividly described by Joan Loveridge-Sanbonmatsu (Syracuse), in her 2011 haiku:

 A burst of petals                                                                                                                                      flame red, melon, pale yellow                                                                                                             Summer rose gardens

After a long Winter and wet Spring, neighbors are slowly emerging from their homes, greeting each other like old friends.  Beth Miller (Auburn) skillfully creates such a scene in her 2015 haiku:

Warm friendly greetings                                                                                                                       Summer on South Geddes Street                                                                                                           Flowers lead to porches

Outdoors, there’s the sound of lawns being mowed and the comforting smell of fresh cut grass.  Green grass and Summer–there is nothing quite like it as Thomas Stock (Ft. Plain 2014) describes in his mirthful haiku:

Cool clover carpet                                                                                                                                   seduce my bare feet with dew                                                                                                               Summer night, you muse!

The arrival of Summer also means weekends are suddenly booked with music festivals, sporting activities, sun gazing and weddings!  Our featured poster from our 2004 Series notes this traditional season for wedding celebrations with a cleverly written haiku by Ralph Long, Jr. and a beautiful illustration by  Elizabeth Couturier, former Syracuse University Illustration student.

In a Rose Garden / at the top of Campus Hill / wedding dresses bloom

2004Long_Couturier

Of course, Summer’s arrival also means construction season is underway everywhere you turn. When artfully expressed in a haiku, such as this one by Dianne Apter (Syracuse 2015), delays don’t seem quite as dreadful:

Summer highway rite                                                                                                                             Orange cones stretched forever                                                                                                                   A sea of detours

How do you welcome Summer?  Write us a haiku in the Comments and we’ll publish it next time on our blog.

Happy Summer!

A Memorial Day Post

                 Run run Jerry run / freedom is at hand oh Lord / helpful hands stretch out                                                                                          by Pat Flowers (Columbus 2006)

Originally referred to in the late 1860’s as Decoration Day–a day of remembrance when mourners could grace the graves of the Civil War’s dead with flowers–Memorial Day became a national holiday in 1971.  It remains a day of solemn observance; a day reserved to honor and remember all Americans who have died while serving in our country’s military service.

                    Heroes defended / Liberty and freedom rang / Stars and stripes rippled                                                                                              by Michelle Miles (Amman, Jordan 2016)

Memorial Day is also a day to celebrate our freedom, the unique cause that these American servicemen and servicewomen died for.

                   Souls of the soldiers / march and quiet names surround / Freedom’s arena                                                                                         by Mark Shevalier (Henderson 2007)

Over the last few decades, Memorial Day has also come to be known as the unofficial start of Summer.  Marked with patriotic parades, major sporting events, family gatherings and barbecues, Memorial Day is still a shared American tradition.

Our featured haiku poster this Memorial Day is from our 2004 Series.  It was written by frequent contributor, Jay Cox and illustrated by former Syracuse University student, Steve Kim.  We think you’ll agree, the poster exemplifies the beauty of our monuments to peace, freedom and remembrance.

The blue sky ripples / and clouds stream by in the water / fountain reflections2004Cox_Kim

However you observe this Memorial Day–whether it’s laying a wreath or raising a flag, marching along with a parade or gathering with family, watching a ballgame or enjoying the evening’s fireworks–safe travels!

Birds coax forth the dawn. / She smiles and all turns golden. / Our lake beams its thanks…                                                            by Patricia Ziemba (Syracuse 2010)

 

Haiku for a Slow Start to Spring

Pink clouds dot the sky                                                                                                                                                                            Black crows fly past crescent moon                                                                                                                                                       A change of weather

                                                                                     by Peter Allen (Syracuse 2013)


Whether or not you care much about the weather, it is one of the major topics of conversation anywhere, anytime, anyhow, no matter the day or the time of year.  It pretty much affects everything around us and everything we do.  We, at Syracuse Poster Project, would rightfully guess that we receive more haiku written about weather–like the fine poem above–than about any other subject!

Changes in the weather often signal a change in the season, too.  For instance, in Central New York today, while the calendar may say Spring, the weather these past few weeks has been mostly cold, dismally grey and, well…cold.  In fact, on St. Patrick’s Day–usually a fine day to celebrate the imminent arrival of Spring–there were snowbanks here that were as high as an elephant’s eye! The tulips and daffodils that had started to peek out from the cold March ground were quickly sent packing.  

Moving from March to April isn’t always easy or fast.  Thank goodness for Haiku to put this change of season into perspective!  Take, for example, this poignantly expressive haiku from frequent Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Jay Cox (Pompey, 2001):

Treetops’ sprawling arms                                                                                                                                                                        tremble, holding pale gray sky–                                                                                                                                                           snow patches linger.

Or, consider the perspective found in this uplifting haiku from Anton Ninno (Syracuse, 2008):

Last snow of the year                                                                                                                                                                                crashes down, heavy and wet                                                                                                                                                                 young buds shake it off

From Craig Overbeck, (Fayetteville, 2015), a stirring haiku with an artistic glimpse of what awaits us this Spring:

To the south, rain falls.                                                                                                                                                                  Gray brushstrokes sweep from dark clouds                                                                                                                                        To paint the hills green.

We think you’ll agree, this warm and delightful haiku by Rachel Guido deVries (Cazenovia, 2001) enriches any conversation about the weather or change of season.  Her words create a feeling beautifully captured in this poster from our 2015 Series by former Syracuse University Illustration student, Lise Sukhu.  To see more of Lise’s artwork, click here.

Dog sleeps safe from rain, / nestled in blankets, my feet / warm up, beneath her

2015Guido_de_Vries_Sukhu

Over the past several months we’ve highlighted many fine haiku written by our contributors about the weather and the change of seasons in Central New York.  Our accompanying featured posters beautifully underscore and accentuate the fine work we receive.  We hope you’ve enjoyed reading these poems as well as the few highlighted here today.  

And, remember, as we move from snow to rain this season, keep this cheerful haiku, written by Michelle Miles (Amman, Jordan 2016), in mind:

March into April,                                                                                                                                                                              Shed the outer cloak, breathe and                                                                                                                                                         Take the umbrella….

Until again, stay warm, stay dry! Happy Spring!

A Haiku for Black History Month

What began in 1926 as the brainchild of Carter G. Woodson’s Negro History Week, Black History Month was decreed a national observance in 1976 by then President Gerald Ford to honor and celebrate the many accomplishments and contributions of Black Americans throughout our history.  It was not lost on its tireless proponents that Black History Month be celebrated in February – the month in which two of the most iconic figures in the history of slavery in our country were born: Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

Although he settled in Rochester in 1847, Frederick Douglass made several trips to Syracuse between 1840 and 1870.  In August of 1850, he lectured on the evils of slavery during a stop at Syracuse City Hall — he was on his way to nearby Cazenovia for the Fugitive Slave Law Convention which he helped organize.  More information about his travels through Syracuse, as well as a look at a rare daguerreotype of Mr. Douglass during this time, can be found at the Onondaga Historical Association on Montgomery Street, Syracuse.

From our 2008 Series, our featured haiku poster is a fitting tribute to Frederick Douglass and Black History Month here at Syracuse Poster Project.  With Bryan Wilbur’s fine haiku as its centerpiece, the wonderful depiction of Frederick Douglass was illustrated by artist, David Hicock, a Syracuse University Instructor of Film in the Department of Transmedia and owner of Animotion, Inc.

Frederick Douglass / spoke as cheering thousands sang / under this same sky

2008wilbur-hicock

Hope you’ve enjoyed this brief connection between haiku, Syracuse and Black History Month!

Haiku for Your Valentine!

We’re celebrating Valentine’s Day here at Syracuse Poster Project with a newly designed–and, free–Valentine’s Day Card! Since we began issuing Valentine’s Day cards in 2013, we’ve had some beauties, but we’re especially happy with this one by Naomi Masingale. Naomi is our Outreach Intern for the Spring Semester. She graduated from Pratt with a degree in Communication Design and Illustration and is currently working on her Master’s Degree in Arts Administration at Le Moyne College.

You can find Naomi’s Valentine’s Day Card here.  If you’re the do-it-yourself type, you can download any of our other specially designed cards here and print them yourself. You’ll have a PDF of an 8.5 x 11-inch sheet, which you can trim and fold into a 5 x 7-inch card.  Writing a haiku to your special someone couldn’t be easier!  

And, as haiku is our forte, we have searched our archives for words of Love that might inspire your own!  Here, we re-post some haiku from our 2016 Valentine’s blog.   

Oubon Phommanyrath’s (Syracuse 2013) haiku transcends the ordinary with her thoughtfully chosen words:

     I chase the song of                                                                                                                                                             life. My heart knows the hidden                                                                                                                                    path, where love finds me.

Kathryn Hammer (Syracuse 2015) speaks tenderly of love with her endearing haiku:

     Love, come sit by me                                                                                                                                                         The sun is tucking in now                                                                                                                                                My shoulder is yours

Marilyn Shelton (Dunmore 2003) engages us in a stolen moment of love with her charming haiku:

     Young opera moon,                                                                                                                                                           you caught us stealing kisses                                                                                                                                          Under red awnings!

Sandra Hewett’s (Syracuse 2014) haiku nicely sets the scene for a romantic evening shared with a loved one:

     Candles glow brightly                                                                                                                                                       On the table as we eat–                                                                                                                                                Faces full of love

Speaking of romance, it might be snowy and cold outside, but our featured 2007 Syracuse Poster Project haiku poster is sure to warm you on this St. Valentine’s Day. The poet: long-time Syracuse haiku contributor, Robert Gaurnier, and former Syracuse University Illustration student, Bret Supranowicz, now working in New York City as a designer and illustrator; he is also the Creative Director at Xtreme Time Inc..

Beneath many stars / diners feast on sweet music / in Armory Square

2007-gaurnier_supranowicz

If you are still stuck for ideas to give your Valentine, check out our Pinterest Board, where another of our volunteers, Naomi Coufalhas cleverly gathered together several romance-themed posters from our archives for easy viewing and shopping.

Wishing you a warm and happy Valentine’s Day!

Summer’s Small Treasures

Summer.  Long days.  Blue skies.  Bright evening stars.  Among its simple pleasures: the sweet cacophony of birdsong, the laughter of children playing, the chirping of crickets lulling us to sleep.

Many of our archived haiku reflect these simple joys of Summertime.  Here are a few of them!

Syracuse Poster Project haiku contributor, Dianne Apter (Syracuse 2011) offers up a delightful poem which warmly embraces one such Summer treasure – the company of friends:

  Old-older-oldest                                                                                                                                                                Summer’s eve front porch sitters                                                                                                                                  Wine-laughter-gossip

And, Jacquelyn Green’s (Syracuse) 2015 haiku cheerfully evokes a Summer treasure that never gets old:

 Dreaming of Summer.                                                                                                                                                 Double Dutch, hopscotch and friends.                                                                                                                          Good times and laughing.

For some, nothing says Summer like chasing Fireflies!  Their magical flight, on a starry Summer night, can still take us by surprise.  As part of our 2015 Syracuse Poster Project collection, our featured poster beautifully reflects a childhood we can still remember when we chased a brightly lit Firefly.  Eloquently written in 2014 by frequent contributor, Thomas Stock, this charming poster was illustrated by former Syracuse Illustration Student, Sophia Openshaw, now a freelance illustrator from Annapolis, Maryland.  

Fireflies blink brightly / Caught in jars of summer dreams / Where I once left them.

396_16_Stock_Openshaw

We’ll leave you with this 2014 haiku by Syracuse native and poet, Martin Willitts, Jr.  He writes vividly of another Summer treasure which certainly cannot be denied:

 Summer night concert                                                                                                                                               Black crickets on violins                                                                                                                                                  Bullfrogs on bassoons

What do you treasure about Summertime? Let us know in the comment section below or on our Facebook page! And, don’t forget, if you see a poster you would like to own for your home or office, visit our Shop page!

Stay Cool!

Celebrating Summer With Music

From our 2011 Syracuse Poster Project Series, poet Nancy Liccione and former Syracuse Illustration student, Kerff Petit-Frere, now a freelance illustrator out of Brooklyn, joined forces to create this telling poster of summers in Syracuse:

Fountains echo words / Blues and jazz reverberate / Summer in the Square

230_12_Liccione_Petit-FrereMusic. Festivals. Summer.  They’re synonymous with one another.  Celebrating the season nearly every weekend of Summer, festivals fill Syracuse squares and parks with all kinds of music, ethnic foods and treats, crafters and artists of all kinds, individuals and families enjoying the outdoor opportunities of coming together as a community.

Joseph Whelan’s  (Syracuse) 2015 haiku nicely describes this sense of community on one such Summer’s evening–perhaps an evening enjoying Syracuse’s Candlelight Series in Armory Square:

 Music in the night                                                                                                                                                              Neighbors gather in the square                                                                                                                                      Dancing in the street

Frequent Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Ellen Agnew (Syracuse) similarly recounts the pleasures of one of Syracuse’s most popular neighborhood festivals, the Westcott Street Fair with her 2015 haiku:

 Westcott Festival                                                                                                                                                                  brings out musicians, artists,                                                                                                                                         cooks, friends, and their dogs.

Peggy Liuzzi’s (Syracuse) 2009 haiku colorfully describes our collective refusal to have rain hold us back from celebrating Summer’s annual rituals, including the Syracuse Jazz Fest which inevitably has one rainy night in its lineup:

 Music fills square.                                                                                                                                                               Rain falls and the crowd blossoms                                                                                                                              With bright umbrellas.

Another Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Arlene Quizon (Roseville), richly reflects how music–think Jazz in the City or Northeast Jazz & Wine Fest–can bring us together in her 2009 haiku:

 Great Summer jazz songs                                                                                                                                               Together neighborhoods bond                                                                                                                                      Clap worries away

Even late Summer festivals, such as the Syracuse Irish Festival, bring music and community together as expressively described in Sheila Forsyth’s (Fayetteville) 2002 haiku:

 Warm Summer night’s wind                                                                                                                                          Whispers Celtic music through                                                                                                                                        Armory Square streets

Jay Cox’s 2003 (Pompey) haiku brilliantly reminds us that Summer in CNY is incomplete without celebrating the blues–as in the NYS Blues Fest:

 Texas blues drift with                                                                                                                                                       the moonlight through a Summer                                                                                                                                night in Clinton Square

When all is said and done, our 2003 Syracuse Poster Project series haiku poster–written by Claire Bobrycki and illustrated by former Syracuse University Illustration student, Julia Cocuzza, now a working artist living in Brooklyn–says it beautifully:

Steamy Summer night– / ribs smokin’, guitars wailin’ / Blues Fest makes it right

121_03_Bobrycki_Cocuzza

Do you have a favorite Summer festival? Let us know in our comment section below, or even on our Facebook, and we’ll find a place for it in our next Blog Post!

Happy Summer!

 

Haiku to Welcome Summer

Ah, Summer!  Sunshine (mostly), long, warm days (usually), soft breezes (often)!  What better way to officially welcome Summer – and all that it promises – than with a few haiku from the Syracuse Poster Project archives!

You can practically feel one of summer’s little pleasures with this beautifully written 2014 haiku by Thomas Stock (Fort Plain):

 Cool clover carpet,                                                                                                                                                              Seduce my bare feet with dew                                                                                                                                         Summer night, you muse!

And, on an early Summer’s morning, you might be surprised to hear the unique sound of hot-air balloons overhead–like Rosalyn Carroll (Manlius) did in her 2015 haiku:

 colorful balloons                                                                                                                                                             drift lazily overhead                                                                                                                                                           breathing like dragons

….or, from a distance, you’ll see what Nan Gartner (Fayetteville) describes in her colorful 2007 haiku:

 hot-air balloons rise                                                                                                                                                       and a riot of color                                                                                                                                                               blossoms in the sky

Either way, a sure sign Summer has arrived in Central New York, is the annual Jamesville Balloonfest held at Jamesville Beach Park.  One of many Syracuse Summer festivals to feature arts and crafts, food and music, this festival is special for its lovely venue and beautiful hot-air balloons!  

And, if heights aren’t your cup of tea, perhaps you’ll find one of the many Summertime events hosted by the Onondaga Historical Association, such as the Ghostwalk Tour of Oakwood Cemetery, more to your liking!  James Tobey (Cazenovia), former host of Jazz Impressions on WAER radio, found majesty in Oakwood’s grounds with his 2015 haiku:

 rooted in Oakwood                                                                                                                                                            old trees towering above                                                                                                                                                  granite monuments

….as did Mark Shevalier (Henderson) with his 2007 tribute to this tranquil and historic Syracuse landmark:

 And there they all sleep                                                                                                                                                    Beneath the earth and granite                                                                                                                                        Oakwood their fine bed

Summer would be incomplete without a visit to Thornden Park’s Amphitheater where you can help celebrate William Shakespeare’s 400th Birthday by catching a variety of theatre productions presented by the Syracuse Shakespeare Festival.  While you’re there, smell the roses (!) and become inspired–as did our poet, Rosalyn Carroll, and former Syracuse University Illustration Student, Rebecca Zomchek, now a full time Illustration professor at the Columbus College of Art and Design.  Rebecca’s motivation behind her beautiful poster: “I have always loved Shakespeare and was very excited about the opportunity to illustrate a piece about the wonderful Shakespeare Festival in the park. I love walking out to the amphitheater in the Spring when the roses in the park are in bloom.  I wanted to create a fun and interesting piece and tried to give my version of Shakespeare a unique look and personality.  I hope this piece reflects those ideas and the wonderful haiku, and encourages everyone to enjoy the wonderful festival, garden, and arts here in Syracuse.”

Drama in the round, / Roses, far and wide abound. / Shakespeare would be proud.

18_05-Carroll-&-Zomcheck
Summertime events and haiku – what a great combination!

Finding Solace in Haiku

It’s difficult.  Finding the right words to use when tragedy strikes.  Again.  When lives are cut short.  Not wanting to sensationalize.  But, wanting to say something.  Something that will support, comfort and soothe.  

Eagles nestled in                                                                                                                                                        High above the peaceful shore                                                                                                                           Watching, protecting                                                                                                                                                                    By Michael Brigandi / 2014 Syracuse

Our archives hold many haiku describing love, hope and the clear, simple splendor of Nature.  We’ve chosen only a few with the hope that you will find solace in their words.

Heaven’s cries resound                                                                                                                                            Weeping tears open flowers                                                                                                                                   New day springs alive                                                                                                                                                                  By Deb Bateman / 2002 East Syracuse

Our featured poster is from the 2010 collection.  The beautiful haiku was written by Peggy Liuzzi and the gorgeous illustration by former Syracuse University Illustration Student, Alec Acevedo, now a freelance illustrator and in-house artist for Jay St. Video Games in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

White trilliums light / the dark forest floor glowing / ghostly like spilled stars

57_09_Liuzzi_Acevedo

Pulse.  We are touched and saddened by what’s happened in Orlando.  One of many horrific events that will be in our hearts for a long time…like Sandy Hook, Aurora and Columbine, San Bernardino, Ft. Hood, Boston, Charleston, Oklahoma City….

Love, come sit by me                                                                                                                                                    The sun is tucking in now                                                                                                                                           My shoulder is yours                                                                                                                                                       By Kathryn Hammer / 2015 Syracuse  

With our deepest sympathy.

Over graves and drifts                                                                                                                                              frozen teardrops of snow sigh                                                                                                                                   and whisper soft grief.                                                                                                                                                                  By Mary Taitt / 2011 Grosse Pointe Farms

The Syracuse Poster Project  

A Taste of Summer

Though the Summer Solstice is still three weeks away, Memorial Day Weekend and the first week of June, essentially welcomes Summer! And now with the season of fun in the sun officially underway, so are its many celebrations, including outdoor festivals, concerts, craft fairs, art shows, field days, Highland Games, baseball games, boating events…we could go on forever!

And, believe it or not, there are haiku from our archives that fit nearly every summertime occasion imaginable!

For instance, during the first weekend in June, the Taste of Syracuse event in Clinton Square has celebrated the opening of Summer for the past 20 years.  Food tasting and music dominate downtown Syracuse for two days and two nights.  Our illustrated haiku poster from the 2011 collection gives you an idea of the crowds that have enjoyed this annual event.  The poster was created by former Syracuse University illustration student, Rebekah Mackay, and written by frequent Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Robin Gross.

Craft shows, concerts, food / Taste of Syracuse so fine / Dance to the music

228_10_Gross_MacKay

Meanwhile, in the nearby Village of Chittenango, Oz-Fest celebrated its 39th year this first weekend of June by again painting the town yellow—er, green!  This Oz-stravaganza celebrates the birthplace of L. Frank Baum with parades, hot air-balloon rides, munchkin races and Dorothy look-alike contests.  Manlius writer, Sylvia O’Connor, describes this bright occasion with her 2014 haiku:

 Immoderate Spring                                                                                                                                                           Bursting into leafy green                                                                                                                                                 Emerald as Oz

History lessons and re-enactments are part of the 24th annual Peterboro Civil War Weekend next weekend.  The home of the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum and the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark, Peterboro was an important  stop on the Underground Railroad.  The legacy of the abolitionist conductor’s use of codes–such as the North Star–on the freedom trail is one interpretation of Judith McGinn’s (Skaneateles) brilliant 2007 haiku:

  Hearing freedom’s call                                                                                                                                                    heroes boldly save the day                                                                                                                                              guided by a star

Whether you’re out on Cazenovia Lake with the Caz Rowing Club or preparing for the Onondaga Cup and Lakefest in July, you will like Sheila Forsyth’s (Fayetteville) beautiful 2005 haiku:

  Peaceful lake morning                                                                                                                                                      Sculls glide over the water                                                                                                                                                Leaving V-Shaped wakes

What’s your favorite Spring into Summer festival?

A Haiku Reflection on Memorial Day

A well-written Haiku can say a lot in only a few words and syllables–it can tell a story and even express deep emotions; it can also be political and make us pause to reflect upon the world around us. Like other forms of poetry, haiku can speak to war and peace, heroes and fallen soldiers, victory and defeat, freedom and sacrifice.

Among many things, this poster from our 2003 Syracuse Poster Project collection beautifully reflects the haunting memories of war. The haiku was written by poet, Bryan Wilbur, and illustrated by former Syracuse University illustration student, Robert Franceschini.

Emptiness echoes / around monuments. A man / remembers shadows.

16 Wilbur & Franceschini

Wherever you find yourself this Memorial Day–whether it’s laying a wreath or raising a flag, marching along with a parade or gathering with family for a barbecue, watching a ballgame or enjoying the evening’s fireworks–we wish you well!

 

 

 

Springtime Reflections



spiraling around                                                                                                                                                          
the mailbox pole, they climb, climb                                                                                                                       brief springtime neighbors!

Our thanks to Michelle Miles, (Amman, Jordan, 2016 and youngest sister of this blogger), for her comment on our last blog, (Waiting for Spring to Spring!), in the form of this richly evocative haiku.  We think you’ll agree, her words could easily describe the Clematis, Morning Glory or Honeysuckle you’ve seen lately snaking up mailboxes, lampposts and telephone poles–all reaching for Spring’s blue sky!

Around Central New York, you may have also noticed red-tinged Peony buds and purple-budded Irises shooting up in freshly mulched flower beds.  Frequent Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Audia Denton (Ithaca) cheerfully describes how good the colors of Spring can make us feel in her 2011 haiku:

   Shoot forth stems of Spring                                                                                                                                            hues from every source waving                                                                                                                                    flowers smile at us

Fragrant and colorful Lilacs are making their appearance now, too, while Apple and Cherry blossoms are filling out many a bare-limbed orchard.  Another of our frequent contributors, Jennifer Groff (Lancaster 2013), celebrates all the blooming going on with this wonderful Springtime haiku:

   flowering trees flaunt                                                                                                                                                      voluptuous silky blooms                                                                                                                                                  of new spring dresses

Springtime in Central New York is also grey baby goslings vying for space with afternoon golfers on bright green golf courses.  It’s a family of  black turtles sunbathing on half-sunk tree logs along the Erie Canal.  It’s blue Robin eggs spied in a new nest.   Norma Odell’s (North Syracuse) 2014 haiku vividly describes another Springtime activity:

   Bobbing goldfinches                                                                                                                                                        Upon purple coneflowers                                                                                                                                                Ignore my feeders

Lest we forget, nothing says Spring like the smell of freshly mowed grass or the smell of rain after days of dry weather.  Our featured haiku poster is from our 2006 collection. Written by Sheila Forsyth and illustrated by former Syracuse University Illustration student, Elizabeth Black, it lends itself well to Spring musings, doesn’t it?

Rain beads on petals / Thornden among the roses / After passing storm

105_11_Forsyth_Black

Spring flowers, Spring smells, Spring sounds and Spring sites…ah, joy!

 

Waiting for Spring to Spring!

Around Central New York this year, Spring seems slow in showing up.  Digging through our large archive of wonderful haiku, this 2013 poem by Joan Dear-Houseman (Chittenango) is striking in its description of how unhurried a start to Spring it’s been this year:

 Mittens on my hands,                                                                                                                                                Contradicts the month of May.                                                                                                                                Will Spring ever come?

The sudden demise of early Spring flowers saddened many of us…thank goodness for the brilliant cheer of our fine-feathered friends as depicted in this playful 2013 haiku by frequent Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Sam Donnelly (Syracuse):

On a frosted branch                                                                                                                                                          A love-sick chickadee croons–                                                                                                                                    You-hoo, babe, it’s Spring!

And, if you don’t see anything blooming brightly yet in your neck of the woods, look closer–as Robert Gaurnier (Syracuse) does in his illustrative 2003 haiku:

  Ducks in Webster’s Pond                                                                                                                                         dive under the Spring sunshine                                                                                                                             tail ends sprouting up

Still looking for Spring?  Check your lawn, where crazy as it may sound, dandelions have already begun to seed!  David Hitchcock (Fayetteville) vividly captures this disparaged Spring flower in his 2009 haiku:

  Dandelions spring,                                                                                                                                    disturb the tranquil green lawn                                                                                                                        with cheeky yellow.

One of our lovely Spring posters comes from our 2014 Syracuse Poster Project series. The haiku was written by James & Barbara Yonai (Syracuse) in 2011 and illustrated by former Syracuse University illustration student, Emily Rhain Andrews, now a Vermont based freelance illustrator.

Spring comes, flowers bloom / deer dine on floral buffet / gardeners must pay

374_17_Yonai_Andrews

Finally, as we wait for Spring to spring, consider the hopeful words of this 2010 haiku by frequent Syracuse Poster Project contributor Joan Loveridge‐Sanbonmatsu’s (Syracuse)

  Spring rains gently coax                                                                                                                                               earth for purple primroses                                                                                                                                         to open anew

How do you wait for Spring to spring? Send us your thoughts in a haiku and we’ll add it to our blog!

 

 

April – Come What…May

April.  The word itself elicits all things Spring: April showers that bring May flowers, soft breezes and memories of April in Paris, cherry blossoms and lilacs, love poems and songs…think Simon & Garfunkel, April Come She Will and Frank Sinatra’s rendition of I’ll Remember April.  

Joan Loveridge-Sanbonmatsu’s (Syracuse) 2007 haiku easily describes an April scene some of us woke up to this morning:

 High walls of Spring snow                                                                                                                                            Line the roads of the city.                                                                                                                                        When will the tulips bloom?

April is also a month of celebration.  In fact, Syracuse Poster Project is celebrating its 15th year!  Bringing together community poets and Syracuse University artists and illustration students,  Syracuse Poster Project creates an annual series of poetry posters which are hung in kiosks throughout downtown Syracuse.  Be sure to catch our annual haiku-poster unveiling event on Thursday April 14 at 6:00 p.m. in the City Hall Commons, 201 E. Washington Street.  

Coincidentally, this April marks the 20th Anniversary of National Poetry Month; and it also marks the Smithsonian’s 14th annual celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM).  Speaking of Jazz, a Syracuse shout out to this year’s SAMMY’s Music Educator of the Year, jazz guitarist, Mark Copani and to Andrew Carroll on his Syracuse SAMMY Award for Best Jazz Recording for his debut album, Alliterations.  

April is also the start of fishing season and the first heady days of baseball season.  We think you’ll agree that our featured Syracuse Poster Project haiku poster from our 2007 collection beautifully depicts an April scene. The haiku was written by poet Claire Bobrycki and illustrated by former Syracuse University Illustration student, Wei Hsing.  

Cold hands, smoky breath / Brown trout jumping Nine Mile Creek / in the April dawn

68_04_Bobrycki_Hsing

Our thanks to one of our readers, (Anonymous), for this wonderful Spring haiku:

March into April,                                                                                                                                                      Shed the outer cloak, breathe and                                                                                                                         Take the umbrella….

Responding to our recent question, What is your favorite sign of Spring?, we think you’ll agree, this beautifully descriptive haiku evokes all the hopes of Spring that April brings.  

Happy Spring!

The March to Spring!

It’s been a chilly, rainy “March” to Spring this year.  Much different than what we experienced last year–a cold, snowy, and seemingly interminable journey!  But still, Spring has sprung at last, and when mornings awaken blue and bright, it’s as wonderful as this 2015 haiku by Syracuse Poster Project contributor Sean Conrey (Syracuse):

     A spring breeze still cold                                                                                                                                                   All nerves beneath the black oak                                                                                                                                    A new leaf unfurls

Depending on where you live, you may still have patches of snow on the ground.  But that hasn’t stopped the green shoots of tulips and daffodils from pushing their way up through the soggy Winter ground just as imaginatively described as in this 2012 haiku by Jane Woodman (Syracuse):

    Syracuse snow banks                                                                                                                                                          cover heat-seeking missiles                                                                                                                                             of Spring daffodils.

No doubt you’ve also seen colorful blooms of crocuses cropping up everywhere you turn.  More than Winter’s white and grey, these sweet hints of Spring colors to come is delightful–as is this 2011 haiku by Sam Donnelly (Syracuse):

    Blossoms in short shorts                                                                                                                                                   Sunbathing between snow banks,                                                                                                                                  Blooming in the thaw

…Or this 2014 haiku by Andrew Schep (Syracuse):

    forsythia arms                                                                                                                                                                     sleeved in little bursts of sun                                                                                                                                           shoveling the snow

While the earth is renewing itself, our fine-feathered friends are returning home, too.  Robins, of course, among the first signs Spring has arrived.  Surprisingly, even Gulls, as vividly described in this 2008 haiku by Alexa Carter (Fulton), herald hope:

    Gulls like drifts of snow                                                                                                                                      Gather on the shores in spring                                                                                                                         Harbingers of fun to come

One of our many favorite posters from the 2009 Syracuse Poster Project Collection, written by longtime Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Jay Cox and illustrated by teacher and former Syracuse University Illustration student, Devin Scannell aptly describes this taut time between Spring and the last of March snows.  

A blackbird sways on / a goldenrod stalk covered / with afternoon snow

34_05_2009Cox_Scannell

Finally, a fitting tribute to Spring by another of our haiku contributors, Marilyn Shelton (Dunmore, 2005):

    Snow melts to lilies                                                                                                                                                              Of the sweet valley, reborn                                                                                                                                              In sensuous spring

 
What is your favorite sign of Spring?  

March Madness

It’s that time.  The Ides of March, when the tables turned on Caesar, and the battle for power…oh wait… I mean, that time of year when the battles of March, played on basketball courts around the country, determine who will be the 2016 National Champion!

East, West, South, Midwest–what better way to express the excitement of March Madness than our featured 2008 Syracuse Poster Project haiku poster created together by poet, Pat Flowers and former Syracuse University Illustration student, Gabe Eng-Goetz:

Fenced in glory hoops / leap in air toward heaven / endless chatter scores

22_09-Flowers-&-Eng-Goetz

Congratulations to the Syracuse University basketball team for their selection to play in the 2016 NCAA Tournament.  In another day or so from this posting, they’re scheduled to play the Dayton Flyers.  And, while the game won’t be here at home, Michael Brigandi’s (Syracuse) 2013 haiku resonates with our hopes for them:

Dark walking through snow                                                                                                                                  Uphill, wet cold, bundled, warm                                                                                                                          Back down, Orange win

Good Luck!

The Music of March

March has arrived – whether as a lion or a lamb, it’s too early to say – but, there is certainly music in the air!  You can hear it in the wind.  Just listen to the lion’s roar in Rachael Ikins’  (Baldwinsville) 2011 haiku:

 Always hungry, March,                                                                                                                                         Sub-zero gales, snow knives cut.                                                                                                                        Peaceful arc, tender spring.

You can hear it in Thomas Stock’s (Ft. Plain) inspired 2015 haiku:

 Hear eager March sun                                                                                                                                                Turn Winter packed icy eaves                                                                                                                                  To notes of spring song.

And, like Eric Darby, (California, 2009), you can hear it in the lilting song of our fine-feathered friends:

 A robin perches                                                                                                                                                            on the snowplow blade, singing                                                                                                                                  its bright orange song.

Speaking of the cheerful sound of birds, you can find this beautiful 2007 illustrated haiku on our Syracuse Poster Project Shop page.  Poet: Claire Bobrycki and Artist: Mike Tanoory.  

Ten below zero / Chickadees go on chirping / Outside my window

Ten below zero Chickadees go on chirping Outside my window

Lion or lamb, March has a beautiful sound all its own.  Listen for it and let us know what you hear!

 

Celebrating Black History Month With Haiku

February may be the iconic month of Winter Celebrations. There’s Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday, the first lunar day of the Chinese New Year, and Winterfest.  February is also Black History Month.  

We are celebrating Black History Month with two haiku posters from our 2008 Collection. Both haiku, at once, powerful and beautiful, were written by Syracuse poet and educator, Omanii Abdullah.  One poster was illustrated by Dusty Herbig, a Syracuse University Associate Professor; the other by Rod Martinez, also a Syracuse University Associate Professor.  Both posters can be found on and purchased from our Shop page.

I am from the hood / The hood did not enslave me / I am my master   15_02-Abdullah-&-Herbig

I have no boundaries / In this city of my birth / I, too, roam freely

14_01-Abdullah-&-Martinez

It may surprise you to learn that the celebrated American author, Richard Wright (1908 – 1960), also wrote haiku – thousands of them!  Better known for his novels, (Native Son, Uncle Tom’s Children), short stories and non-fiction (Black Boy), his haiku were written between 1959 and 1960 – the last year of his relatively short life.   A collection of his haiku was first published in 1998 as Haiku: This Other World and again in 2012 as Haiku: The Last Poetry of Richard Wright.  We’ve chosen a few of these beautiful pieces to share with you. We think you’ll agree, they aptly celebrate both Winter and February!

  Standing in the field                                                                                                                                                       I hear the whispering of                                                                                                                                                 Snowflake to snowflake

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

   In the falling snow                                                                                                                                                            A laughing boy holds out his palms                                                                                                                            Until they are white.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  From across the lake,                                                                                                                                                     Past the black winter trees,                                                                                                                                         Faint sounds of a flute.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

   Standing patiently,                                                                                                                                                          The horse grants the snowflakes                                                                                                                                  A home on his back.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Do you have a favorite haiku by Richard Wright?  Send us your comments, we’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Valentine’s Day Wishes

Valentine’s Day: a sweetheart of a day, dedicated to the celebration of love, symbolized by red hearts and roses, chocolate kisses, maybe a candle-lit dinner, whimsical cards and love poems.  

Haiku being our forte, we searched our archives for words of love that might inspire your own celebration.   Oubon Phommanyrath’s (Syracuse) 2013 poem transcends the ordinary and beautifully elicits love:

     I chase the song of                                                                                                                                                                                    life. My heart knows the hidden                                                                                                                                                            path, where love finds me.

Kathryn Hammer (Syracuse) expresses love endearingly in her 2015 haiku:

     Love, come sit by me                                                                                                                                                                                The sun is tucking in now                                                                                                                                                                        My shoulder is yours

Marilyn Shelton (Dunmore 2003) sweetly notes a cherished moment of love in her 2003 haiku:

     Young opera moon,                                                                                                                                                                                  you caught us stealing kisses                                                                                                                                                                Under red awnings!

And, Sandra Hewett (Syracuse) shares a special Valentine’s Day moment with her 2014 haiku:

     Candles glow brightly                                                                                                                                                                              On the table as we eat                                                                                                                                                                              Faces full of love

This year, we at the Syracuse Poster Project, are celebrating Valentine’s Day by offering two, newly designed and downloadable, Valentine’s Day Cards.  Thanks to Zhongwen Hu, a native of China now studying for a master’s degree in illustration at Syracuse University, this Valentine’s Day card includes a text box for writing your own haiku. You can see more of Zhongwen’s work at her Behance site or her Instagram site.

Our thanks also to  Shiwen Su, another native of China who is also studying for a master’s degree in illustration at Syracuse University.  Her delightful Valentine’s Day card has plenty of white space on its cover for writing your own haiku. You can check out more of Shiwen’s work at her Tumblr site.

If you still stuck for an idea, you will find a couple of our older, and just as whimsical, Valentine’s Day offerings and other inspirational items by clicking here and here.

It might be freezing cold outside, but our featured 2008 Syracuse Poster Project haiku poster is sure to warm you on this St. Valentine’s Day weekend.  The poet: long-time Syracuse haiku contributor, Jungtae Lee ,and former Syracuse University Illustration student, Sahng-Yeon Lee:

A curious moon  / peeping over the rooftop  /  in Armory Square                                                                    11 Lee & Lee

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Harvest Scenes from CNY

While the calendar says Autumn, it still feels like Summer in CNY. The sound of crickets has quieted at night and the kids are gone back to school. But the hustle and bustle at your local farmer’s market is still hopping! Last week, we wrote about celebrating the change of seasons with the bountiful harvests found nearly everywhere you turn here in CNY. In fact, you can still gather late summer fruits and vegetables from one of the many fruitful markets dotting Syracuse area communities.

When we did not receive any new Harvest Haiku in response to our last post, we decided to dig a little deeper into our archives of un-illustrated haiku. We came across a few which splendidly reflect these end of September harvest days.

This richly worded haiku was written in 2009 by frequent Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Sherry Chayat, from Syracuse, NY. Can you just picture this singular moment?

in harvested fields
geese forage for a last meal
then rise up shrieking

Or this haiku? A picture postcard scene you might see on a drive down a country road in CNY! The poem was written in 2014 by Kathleen Pickard from Jordan, NY.

Corridor of corn, 
Rows of stately sentinels
guarding country roads

Another of our favorite haiku posters reflecting our bountiful CNY home was created in this beautiful Syracuse Poster Project illustration in 2003. The poet: Michele Reed. The former Syracuse University illustration student: Sebastian V. Martorana now an artist living and working in Baltimore, MD.

2003SYR13
      rich purple eggplant             vies for space in my basket    with summer’s last greens

Lynn McDonald, formerly of Syracuse and now living in Utah, beautifully sums up this week’s thoughts in her 2008 haiku:

harvested corn and
red leaves of autumn whisper
cornucopia

What is your favorite September moment? Send us your haiku in the comments and we’ll publish it here on the Poetry Blog next week!

Happy Harvest!

A Reason to Celebrate

One of our primary tenets here at the Syracuse Poster Project is to celebrate our hometown of Syracuse and its CNY neighbors with illustrated haiku.  Oftentimes, a change of season in CNY is seen as a time of celebration and offers a wellspring of ideas for many of our haiku contributors.  

In fact, the time between late August and mid-September, when purple Asters and Queen Anne’s Lace still line country byways, is also the time we celebrate the region’s bountiful harvests and bid farewell to summer.  

Over the years, we’ve received wonderful haiku about this time of year.  We recently dug into our treasure trove of un-illustrated poems and found several delightful haiku describing singular moments of this colorful season.  

Take this richly imaged haiku, for example, written in 2009 by Syracuse, NY poet, Sherry Chayat:

                                                       in harvested fields                                                                                                                                    geese forage for a last meal                                                                                                                              then rise up shrieking                                                                            

And this cheerful haiku, written in 2013 by Martville, NY poet, Carol Corwin:

                                                        doe with spotted fawn—                                                                                                                        heads raised above rows of corn                                                                                                                          ready for harvest    

You may have seen some of our harvest themed haiku beautifully interpreted by our Syracuse University illustration students as posters in the many kiosks dotting Syracuse’s downtown.

One of our favorite haiku posters of this bountiful CNY season was created in 2014. The haiku was written in 2010 by Manlius, NY poet, Rosalyn Carroll and illustrated by former SU Student, Abbey Lossing, now an art director at Buzzfeed.

04_Carroll_Lossing

What do you like most about this time of year? Send us your Harvest Haiku in the comments and we will publish it here on our Poetry Blog.

Happy Harvest!

Haiku For a Grey and Cloudy January

↖↗↘↙↖↗↘↙↖↗↘↙↖↗↘↙↖↗↘↙↖↗↘↙↖↗↘↙↖↗↘↙↖↗↘↙↖↗↘↙↖↗↘↙↖↗↘↙↖↗↘↙

It’s only the start of the New Year, but the promised light of December’s Winter Solstice seems to have temporarily disappeared behind unmovable grey clouds.  Along with cold temperatures, lingering patches of dirty snow offer little consolation to already Covid-bleak days.  

Blue sky illusions 
scrape Winter's gray haze—slogging
numb down Salina

by Jay Cox (Pompey 2007)

But for the brief moments of early morning or late afternoon sun, cloudy skies remain the dominant trademark of Winter in Central New York.  While a backdrop of grey and cold is not wholly unexpected this time of year, we certainly could use some clear, blue skies — and even some snow!

City lights sparkle
morning glow--snow falls--silence
smoke stacks touch the clouds 

by Cynthia Perrine (Fabius 2011)

When endless grey cloudy days turn into endless grey cloudy nights, missing a clear night sky full of stars or the wondrous phases of the moon can be downright sad! It was certainly a disappointment missing the rare alignment of Saturn and Jupiter in December, wasn’t it? 

Meteor showers
Aurora borealis
Hidden behind clouds. 

by Norman Cohen (Jamesville 2011)

As you might expect, writing haiku can bring a whole new perspective to these two words, grey and cloudy.  And, it’s a perfect antidote for cabin-fever made harder again this year with the pandemic lockdown!  

Mostly cloudy with 
a chance of grey and cold - I've
got those Winter blues!

by Rosalyn M. Carroll (Manlius 2017)

Speaking of Winter blues, our featured haiku poster from our 2018 Series is sure to warm you up! Alluding to Syracuse’s well-tuned reputation as a music town, poet Dennis Kinsey suggests, “….Winter, that’s when you feel like you need some music!” For artist Jacob Rivera Navarro, former Syracuse University Illustration Student, “….Music always felt like an escape from the [Syracuse] tundra to me. This is why I related so much to this haiku.” 

Cold in Syracuse , I need the Blues to warm me. Summer is for Jazz.

Along with music, adding an artist’s eye to your haiku can easily turn grey skies from dull to stunning!  

Fronts collide to paint 
Phenomenal cloud skyscapes
Swirling overhead

by Pamela Lynch (Oneida 2013) 

As these few haiku from our archives show, writing Haiku provides a way of expressing deep emotions while seeing the world around us from a variety of perspectives.  So, when the grey and cloudy skies of Winter make you blue, write a Haiku!

Stay warm!

Rosalyn M. Carroll for Syracuse Poster Project

Haiku for a Covid Christmas

🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲

Out of Clinton’s Ditch
with bronze soldiers standing guard
A Christmas tree glows

by Ralph Long, Jr. (Syracuse 2002)

This Holiday Season, there seems to be no getting around the ongoing roadblocks created by the Coronavirus pandemic.

I skate alone now
while I watch the snow fall down
by the lighted tree

by Amanda Funiciello (Baldwinsville 2008)

Fortunately, pandemic restraints aside, holding onto some simple holiday traditions, like a trip to the tree farm or a drive around the neighborhood to see the Christmas lights, can certainly brighten things up!

We search snowy fields
of tall firs fit for trimming–
Yuletide tradition

by Rosalyn M. Carroll (Manlius 2006)

Lights on the Lake” shine
Full moon sparkles on black lake–
Syracuse light show

by Alexa Carter (Fulton 2016)

As it’s been for most of 2020, safely gathering together indoors to celebrate the holidays–Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa–will be especially difficult, if not impossible for many of us.

Tears blur rooftop tree
peering through third floor window
Hospital Christmas

by Nancy Prosser (Auburn 2016)

🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲

In light of our new normal, many of our traditional festivities have required us to adapt new and creative ways of communicating, socializing and sharing time with family and friends. Think Zoom, FaceTime, Messenger, WhatsApp. From our 2019 Series, our featured haiku poster brightly illustrates one way of getting together over the holidays — despite the wintry cold! Frequent haiku contributor, Dianne Apter’s vivid haiku was the inspiration for local artist Kathleen O’Dell’s colorful poster. Ms. O’Dell explains, “….I suppose wine, laughter, gossip, and congregating on the front porch is something people in many cities enjoy and relate to. I set the scene at Christmas time, playfully depicting the quirkiness that accompanies many family gatherings, especially during the holidays.”

Syracuse front porch / Ladies young—older—oldest / Wine—laughter—gossip

🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲

And, while gift giving in person may be different this year, Mother Nature’s many gifts will continue to cheer us forward — from the wonders of the Winter Solstice to the first breath of Spring!

Snow’s coming in the
clouds. See how they drop their gifts?
One by one by one!

by Michelle Miles (Denver 2019)

As always, if you’re interested in purchasing one of our many Holiday-themed haiku posters, click here. And, if you’d like to read more Holiday haiku, click on the Categories Section of our Blog.

Here’s to a safe and healthy Holiday Season and hopes for a good New Year ahead!

Rosalyn M. Carroll for the Syracuse Poster Project

Haiku for a Thanksgiving in the Time of COVID-19

🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺

It may be hard to believe, but COVID-19 is still playing havoc with us even as we approach the end of November!

Covid creeps quiet
through silent Syracuse streets
yet hope happens here

by Bob Lewis (Liverpool 2020)

🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺

Adapting to the rapidly changing dynamic of this pandemic, traditional Thanksgiving festivities and family get-togethers will be dramatically different this year.

Expressions of love
concealed in faint colored masks
breathe silent kisses

by Donna Ancillotti (Liverpool 2020)

🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺

Scaled back feasts are the order of the day as is the increased loneliness of continued isolation of family members and friends during this special holiday.

Separated by
Glass, our hands touch….we laugh, your
eyes Sparkle…miss hugs

by Yvonne Kovits (Little Falls 2020)

🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺

And, while Zoom, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Messenger and Google Duo allow us brief moments of virtual togetherness, the fact that we are still able to share these brief moments is a wonderful thing!

We must together
find and gather to tether
ties to each other

by Mark Shevalier (Henderson 2008)

🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺

As the pandemic has forced us into a new normal, one thing that remains relatively the same for many of us is our relationship with nature. In some instances, we have been given an opportunity to renew that relationship by breathing it in anew. From our 2020 Series, our featured haiku poster beautifully illustrates one such experience. As poet, Ana Morley, writes, “[Green Lakes]….has been the backdrop for some of my favorite memories with the people I love most.” To see more of artist, Lucie Wellner’s, wonderful work, click here.

Walk the Green Lake path…
Lush and open, Earth to sky.
Whispers: “You and I”

🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺

If there is anything positive that the pandemic has wrought, it is the Thanksgiving prayer of gratitude for even the smallest things in our changed lives.

Homeless eyes widen
as Rescue Mission worker
plunks hot turkey down
.

by Lee Savidge (Liverpool 2017)

🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺🔻🔺

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Let us know in the comments! And, if you’re looking for more Thanksgiving haiku, check out the Categories List on this page.

Have a good Thanksgiving and breathe deep all the moments of the day! Stay safe and Take Care!

Rosalyn M. Carroll for the Syracuse Poster Project