It’s Official–Autumn Is Here!

The Autumn Equinox arrived quietly last week, and as if on cue, end-of-September days have become cooler and starry nights, longer.  From the Syracuse Poster Project archives, our haiku contributors have found interesting ways to describe Summer’s prelude to Fall.

Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Maggie Iribarne (DeWitt 2012) observes this seasonal passage of time with her evocative haiku:

   Green gorge glimmering                                                                                                                                                 Summer’s last cold splash summons                                                                                                                            Fall’s red-gold promise

And,  Sharon Rorer (Syracuse 2007) gently describes how the days following the Equinox tend to be around here:

   Single Leaves flutter                                                                                                                                                         on delicate air currents                                                                                                                                                    still feels like Summer

Meanwhile, Deirdre Tait’s (Syracuse 2013) haiku vividly describes what many of us look forward to with the coming of Autumn:

   Rolling hills surround                                                                                                                                                       orchards hold the gift of Fall                                                                                                                                          crisp, juicy goodness

Our featured haiku poster is from the 2015 collection.  Illustrated by former Syracuse University Illustration Student, Gabrielle Bittel, (now a Central New York-based concept artist), the poster beautifully complements the colorful haiku written by Roseanne Olszewski.

Golden crimson leaves / Infused with sunlight hue–fall / blazing my pathway394_14_olszewski_bittel

For many of us, it’s sad to see Summer leave.  But, as Mary Cappelli (Syracuse 2013) writes, there is beauty in the leaving:

   a new slant of light                                                                                                                                                           butterflies flit in gold leaves–                                                                                                                                      So long, sweet Summer!

And finally, for this blogger, a delightfully straightforward haiku from Angelina Allen (Camillus 2014), the young daughter of frequent Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Paul Goat Allenpretty well sums it up:

   Summer is over                                                                                                                                                                   the first day of school is here                                                                                                                                          leaves fall from the trees

How do you feel about the Autumn Equinox? Can you put your feelings about this change of season into a haiku? Leave us your thoughts in the comments below–we’d love to hear from you!

Happy Autumn!

The End of Summer “Daze” or It’s Labor Day Already!

The end of August can be somewhat bittersweet: The warm, lazy days of Summer are slowly becoming a sweet memory.  Parents, students and teachers are gearing up for a new school year to begin and college campuses have already begun conducting classes.  Baseball season is winding down while high school soccer games and football practice are largely underway. But, even though the Great New York State Fair and Labor Day officially mark the end of the Summer season, Summer stays with us until September 21!  Days remain mostly warm and sunny, the nights a bit cooler.  And, although tall, golden-eyed Sunflowers have settled back home facing East, there remain colorful songbirds at the feeder and the hum of cicadas and crickets are still lulling us to sleep.    

This time of year clearly resonates with many of our haiku contributors who savour this slow transition to Autumn.  Sheila Forsyth’s (Fayetteville 2014) haiku says goodbye to Summer with a beautiful image:

Evening cricket plays                                                                                                                                                        farewell to Summer on its                                                                                                                                              hind leg violin

As does Ellen Barnes’ (Syracuse 2014) haiku:

  Sunflower faces                                                                                                                                                                  A swoosh of yellow and black:                                                                                                                                       Goldfinch dinnertime

And, Jay Cox (Pompey 2010) pays homage to Summer’s end with this expansive and thoughtful haiku:

Monarch butterflies                                                                                                                                                          dance with fading wildflowers                                                                                                                                     as the sun slides low

We wanted to share with you a series of delightful haiku posters from our collection which clearly display these final “daze” of Summer.  Enjoy!

From our 2009 Series, Artist: Q. Cassetti and Poet: David Hitchcock who writes: “Although I’m often inspired by the interplay of sound and thought, I also write about my own experiences and try to put into words memories that will resonate with others. In these poems, I want people to say, “Yes, I remember that feeling.”  I also think a little humor can open them to thoughts that they may not have had otherwise. So here the poem opens with a little humor, two puns in four words. Then it becomes slightly nostalgic, remembering summer as a child, and how fast it goes, and how baseball games and swimming can remind us of that time. There’s all that in just three little lines.

Chiefly close to home, / catching fast flying Summer / in a baseball mitt.

From our 2011 Series, Artist: Keisha Cedeno and PoetLori DiCaprio-Lee:

When the Great Fair comes / school cannot be far behind / Summer ends too soon

From our 2002 Series,  Poet: Martin Walls and Artist: James Ryan, now an Illustration teacher in Central Massachusetts:

Fizz of cicadas / Slows as evening cools—lights hum / On in Armory Square


A Call for Haiku!

As it’s done every mid-August since 2001, Syracuse Poster Project has announced its annual call for Haiku for its upcoming 2017 season.  Entering its 16th year, Syracuse Poster Project invites you to participate in this annual call for Haiku.  Consider this as an opportunity to contribute to the culture of our City–as your submitted haiku has the chance of becoming an illustrated haiku poster!  

In fact, if your haiku is chosen to be illustrated by a senior Syracuse University Illustration student, it will be on display for one year following our unveiling event in April!  Each of our illustrated haiku posters uniquely enhances downtown Syracuse: mounted in the City’s colorfully painted kiosks, Syracuse Poster Project posters celebrate the area’s four distinct seasons, our favorite Syracuse area pastimes, our community celebrations and events.  Our posters, like our mission, continue to bridge art and poetry within our community and with our Central New York neighbors.

This year’s call for Haiku is especially noteworthy as we are also paying special tribute to the Erie Canal’s 200th birthday!  Officially, the commemoration of this notable bicentennial of the historic Canal begins in 2017.  Syracuse–and many of the towns, cities and villages along the Erie Canal Corridor–will be hosting events and festivities to celebrate this iconic landmark.  Coincidentally, Syracuse has the distinguished honor of hosting the World Canals Conference in September 2017.  Learn more about the Erie Canal here; about the NYS Canal Corporation which manages the Canal  here.  

You can contribute to the Canal’s bicentennial festivities by writing a haiku to complement our special Erie Canal poster!  Displayed below, this colorful poster was commissioned for our special tribute by Tong “Amy” Su, a graduate student in the Syracuse University Illustration Program.  If the Erie Canal, its history and its future intrigue you, consider submitting a haiku to complement Su’s charming poster!  Visit our website for entry materials and further information here.



If you are new to Syracuse Poster Project, the 2017 poster series will consist of 15 posters created the traditional way (poem first, illustration second) and one special poster created the reverse way (illustration first, poem second).  Poets may submit up to three haiku to the traditional contest and one haiku to complement the Canal poster.  We request that your Haiku have three lines of 5, 7, 5 syllables; no need for title lines.  Need inspiration on writing haiku?  Look here for our wide selection of books on writing haiku, books about haiku artists, and compilations of our own archived haiku contributed by Central New York poets.

The entry deadline for your haiku is Sept. 9.  Poets will be notified if their haiku was selected for a poster in early December.  Our unveiling event happens in mid-April–and what a fun evening it is!

To download an entry form, click here.   To download the Call-For-Haiku brochure, click here.  If you would like to download a sample of the Ms. Su’s Canal poster, click here.  If you are an elementary and / or secondary school teacher, we would love to hear from you and your students, too!  Several posters have featured student poems and we enjoy the vision and spirit of student work.  If you have your class participate, please help with the selection work. For each class, send us the best five haiku.  Thank you.

And, don’t forget, all our posters are for sale on our website, here.  You will also find them on display locally as our traveling exhibit brightly lines the walls of area restaurants, cafes and college campuses.  

Happy writing!

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.


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


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.

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


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


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


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


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!



Congratulations, Syracuse Poster Project!

On April 14th, we celebrated the unveiling of the Syracuse Poster Project’s 2016 poster series.  Our 15th annual event was a wonderful evening of art, haiku, hors d’oeuvres and music!  Congratulations once again to our 2016 poet-artist pairs–your creativity represents another year of fine work!  Our thanks also to all those who attended, and to our sponsors and the many volunteers who helped make this celebration a success.   

If you happened to miss this colorful celebration, do not fear: photos of this special evening can be found here; the names of the poet-artist combinations here; and you will find this new series of eclectic posters here–as well as in kiosks throughout downtown Syracuse.

Our featured poster this week comes from the 2016 series.  Written by Grace Carroll and illustrated by Syracuse University Illustration student, Madeleine Slade, this haiku-poster lightheartedly reminds us that smiles can be our umbrella–even on a rainy Spring day such as today!

Splashing in puddles / Umbrellas spin in the air / A childhood rainstorm


Best Wishes!

Our April Event!

Syracuse Poster Project is proud to announce the unveiling of its 2016 collection on Thursday, April 14.  Our festivities will be a gathering of poets, artists, friends and other supporters of public art.  Food, drink, music and of course, a display and haiku reading of each of the 16 new posters will be served!  This year’s merriment begins at 6:00 p.m. in the Atrium of City Hall Commons, 201 E. Washington Street, Syracuse.  Click here and here to see photos from a few of our past openings and recent kiosk displays.  

We hope you will join our celebration of this year’s series!  In addition to our “traditional method” of creating posters from contributed haiku, this year’s collection includes another poster created by what we like to refer to as a “reverse process” poster–meaning, we solicited haiku to complement an illustration.  We added this unique process to our annual call for haiku in 2009.  Two of our many favorites created by “reverse process” are:

From the 2009 collection: Keely Bowman, poet and Donald Kilpatrick, artist

Branches reach for you / A forest of decisions / Which tree will you climb?


And, from the 2012 collection: Sara Parrott, poet and Skip Frost, artist–

Community builds / bridges of thought between us, / hope for the future.


Our 2016 reverse process poster was created by artist and Syracuse University adjunct professor, Tim Coolbaugh. His captivating poster was spotlighted last August on our blog post: Meet the Illustrator of Our Dog Rescue Poster.  In response to Tim’s poster, we received over 70 haiku submissions; five semi-final haiku were selected and then passed along to the artist for his decision.  Of these five, Aubrey Joy Cooper’s (Auburn) haiku was selected to accompany Tim’s poster.

Dare I hope again? / Human eyes reveal few truths. / Still, I hope once more.

Here are the other four (4) semi-final haiku:

Roaming the streets, lost / Looking for love, a fiend, warmth / Today…a new home.               Michael Brigandi, Syracuse

…and we have a cat. / So, that’s the whole family. / Let’s go home–my friend.                              Karl Krohl, Syracuse

Driving through the ‘Cuse / A shelter dog by my side. / A life worth saving.                                         Justin Blok, East Syracuse

A neglectful past / A hopeful future awaits / Rescued, loved again                                                  Philip Andon-McLane, Syracuse

Our thanks to the many poets who submitted haiku for the 2016 poster series.  We had an excellent response: approximately 100 of you submitting a total of 168 fresh haiku! Combined with submissions from past years, we had a total of 371 poems to pass along to our Syracuse Univeristy Illustration students whose efforts this year–as you will see–were outstanding!  Our thanks to these talented student artists and their faculty members who have worked closely with Syracuse Poster Project since our very beginnings–we are fortunate and blessed to have you!  Finally, our thanks to our wonderful volunteers without whom this event would not have been possible!

See you Thursday night!

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


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


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


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


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!


Winter Hues

Grey skies got you feeling blue?  Does it seem there’s not much more to Winter in CNY than the grey skies that tend to dominate our wintry landscape?  Well, our frequent haiku contributors have offered up some colorful images that may cheer you up.

Take, for instance, this joyful haiku by Michele Reed (Oswego, 2002):

   Red scarf, blue mittens                                                                                                                                                    A blur of color through snow–                                                                                                                                    Clinton Square skaters

Or, Ellen Wheeler’s (Fayetteville, 2015) mirthful haiku:        

   Evergreens wearing                                                                                                                                                        their coats of wintery white–                                                                                                                                      time for snow angels!

If the site of blackened roadside snowbanks distresses you, look in the radiant direction of Joan Loveridge-Sanbonmatsu’s  (Syracuse, 2006) haiku:

    Chunks of ice melting                                                                                                                                                     in the cold silver-blue lake                                                                                                                                           Snow lilies floating

Or, look up, and you might see this glowing image as written in a haiku by Jay Cox (Pompey, 2005):

   Icicles glitter                                                                                                                                                                      and clouds shadow now-cloaked hills                                                                                                                      in a full moon’s light

There is so much to see in white, falling snow, too.  Take this beautifully vivid haiku by Laura Ferrel (Skaneateles, 2014):

   Snow spins through streetlights,                                                                                                                                  delicate silver threads of                                                                                                                                                downtown’s winter cloak.

Besides white, of course, David Hitchcock’s (Fayetteville 2008) haiku reminds us of another familiar color we’ll find on a snowy day:

   In the Salt City                                                                                                                                                                    a yellow snow plow sows salt                                                                                                                                        as our town grows cold

Our featured image, part of the 2013 Syracuse Poster Project collection, is a vibrant and rich reminder of all the color that can be found on a dreary Winter’s day.  Illustrated by former Syracuse University Illustration student, Carolyn Glavin and poet, Janice Scully, this haiku poster is certain to cheer.

Cardinal, feathered masked bandit





Cardinal, feathered

masked bandit on a snowy

limb–all can see you!








Go find some color!


Provisions for a Winter’s Day


these Syracuse blues two parts snow and two parts cold soul red hot to burn










From the 2007 Syracuse Poster Project Collection: poet: Arthur Flowers and former SU Illustration Student, Lydia Nichols



If grey skies have got you blue, and you’re tired of the cold already, why not head down to Provisions Bakery & Restaurant in Armory Square.   Serving warm comfort for breakfast and lunch, the newly renovated site is currently hosting our travelling exhibit of framed poster prints – a visual delight!

As Norman Cohen’s (Jamesville NY) 2010 haiku cheerfully exclaims:

Climb over snowbanks                                                                                                                                                                         Navigate icy sidewalks                                                                                                                                                                                Hot cocoa inside!

What better provision for a cold Winter’s day!

Stay Warm!

It’s Winter – isn’t it?

Well, it’s officially Winter – or so the calendar says.  The Season of Light, the Winter Solstice, New Year’s Eve – all behind us now.  But for the balmy 50 degrees weather we’ve been having on and off since Thanksgiving, you wouldn’t know that it is January in Central New York.  So, where’s Winter?

Equating snow with Winter – as most of us do in CNY – frequent Syracuse Poster Project haiku contributor, Gary Weinstein (Syracuse NY), mused this question in 2004:

Strange…I miss the snow.                                                                                                                           The endless blanket that tucks                                                                                                                             us in all winter.

From the sound of the howling wind tonight, one can only imagine Winter as we know it will soon be here.  Scott Austin (Brooklyn NY) anticipated Winter with his 2011 haiku:

Listen to the wind                                                                                                                                            And you can hear snow approach                                                                                                                       Moments before flakes

CNY’s first major snowstorm of the 2016 season, (post New Year’s Eve weekend), has already been washed away by warm weather, high winds and lots of rain after only a few days on the ground.  Tom Westpfal, (Fayetteville NY), captures this somewhat muddled Winter we’re having in his 2013 Syracuse Poster Project haiku contribution:

Grass poking through snow                                                                                                                           Has winter just ended—nope                                                                                                                                It has just begun

Thankfully, it doesn’t seem we will be having the long, bitter cold Winter we did last year – or like folks are now having in the Midwest.  Regardless, this beautifully illustrated 2005 Syracuse Poster Project haiku poster – written by Ellen Agnew and illustrated by former SU Illustration student, Ivy Hickam – sums up the ‘warm’ side of Winter.

Nature's gift of snow allows us to slow our pace, take time to reflect
Nature’s gift of snow, allows us to slow our pace,  take time to reflect


Here’s to Winter and a Happy New Year!

Getting Inspired

Hope you enjoyed a pleasant Thanksgiving Holiday.  It’s been only a handful of days, really, since the last of the leftovers was eaten and the office email back under control.  And during this relatively short period of time, meanwhile, we’ve endured Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and GivingTuesday!  If you’re worn out already, you’re not alone!  

Having trouble finding poetic inspiration from a good sale?  Look no further than your favorite electronic device.  Whether it’s an iPhone, an Android, an iPad, a laptop or a desktop, there are plenty of websites and apps out there to help nudge your creative juices flowing again during this somewhat stressful time of year!

For instance, Poets & Writers, a not-for-profit organization, offers a variety of online tools and services for writers including their excellent source of inspiration,  The Time is Now E-Newsletter.  Delivered straight to your online mailbox, the e-newsletter offers weekly Poetry, Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction prompts intended to kick-start your imagination.  

HaikuJAM is a relatively new app whose approach is a little different – rather than working by yourself to come up with a complete haiku, HaikuJAM offers you an interesting opportunity to collaborate with other writers to help you create – and finish – a unique piece of poetry.

There are hundreds of poetry blogs out there, too.  Rattle: Poetry for the 21st Century, mentioned on these pages before, offers interesting reading and thematic challenges including, an Ekphrastic Challenge – Art Inspiring Poetry. Similar to our annual Syracuse Poster Project Challenge, Rattle issues a monthly challenge using paintings or photographs to inspire poetry.  Results are fascinating!

You are likely to find inspiration right here at Syracuse Poster Project, too. Thanks to the creative work of our own database development intern, Yingxue Xiao, we recently introduced Haiku Of The Day on our Facebook and Twitter pages.  Reading these daily selections is a wonderful opportunity to read, reflect and become inspired.

Happy Writing!IMG_3224


Haiku for a Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day–a day steeped in tradition, handed down to us from our nation’s original immigrants in celebration of a bountiful harvest.  However you spend this Thanksgiving Day…

….whether in the smallest of gestures, as exemplified simply in Mary Taitt’s (Grosse Pointe Farms, MI) 2001 haiku:

To eat stale bread and                                                                                                                                coo small thanks, pigeons gather                                                                                                                     at our elder’s feet

….manning a soup kitchen, as frankly described in Silvia de la Garza’s (Manlius NY) 2011 haiku:

black and white faces                                                                                                                              awaiting the noon-day meal                                                                                                                             and Samaritans

….spending the day outdoors, as cleverly described in  Linda Liddiard’s (Moravia, NY) 2010 haiku:

  Oak leaves drift softly,                                                                                                                             Men on fields in bright colors.                                                                                                                           Tight spirals land hard.

….or gathering around the dining room table with family and friends, as vividly described in Anne Mackenzie’s (Homer NY) 2014 haiku:

  Kinfolk gathering                                                                                                                                     Pepper specks on buttered corn                                                                                                                        Black starlings scatter

….we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!


Meet Our Blogger

Carroll, Rosalyn (7)
Rosalyn Carroll

If you’ve been following our blog, you’ve noticed a lot of new energy. That’s thanks to our blogger, Rosalyn Carroll, of Manlius. Now that she’s gotten things rolling, we figure it’s time to introduce her. An aspiring writer and poet, Rosalyn has been writing haiku, poetry and short stories since high school. She enjoys music, theater and walking along the Erie Canal. We think you will like how she incorporates a variety of themes with haiku selections from our archives and with select posters from our collection of illustrated haiku. Rosalyn affords us new, creative opportunities, and we encourage you to participate by following her posts, reflecting, and commenting. In short, please join the conversation.

We Take a Poetry Hike

Poem inscribed on log
“Off the earth’s long contour, her river-veins” Environmental art installation by Alastair Noble.

As you’ve seen by our recent posts, Autumn can be a sensory experience inspiring thoughtful haiku and beautiful art.  Autumn can also be a peaceful time whether it’s reflecting the dramatic change of view outside your window or wandering through a wooded park or sanctuary.  But, it’s not just about haiku.  Poets, artists, musicians, scientists, writers—all of us, really—have something to say about nature and its effects on us.

Sunset along the Old Erie Canal—the stone wall at Cedar Bay Park.

Locally, you can discover art and poetry in nature by walking any of the trails along the Old Erie Canal.  The rough, hand-hewn stone bridges and aqueducts built by our immigrant ancestors are still a thing of beauty…as are the walkways and paths along which one can still become inspired by the surrounding natural beauty of the old waterway.  Or, you might find the Stone Quarry Hill Art Park in Cazenovia more to your liking.  With beautiful vistas and inspiring installation art, the park offers many opportunities for your inner artist or poet to come alive.

Speaking of installation art, you may remember Christo and Jeanne-Claude, whose masterful displays continue to inspire thoughtful reflection.  If you had the opportunity, you’ll agree that the singularly unique experience of walking through their 2005 installation of The Gates in Central Park was exhilarating!  

If you have travel plans over the holidays, or even next Spring, check out the more subtle experience of installation art found at the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Woodstock, Vermont.  In 2013-14, the park’s artist-in-residence, Alastair Noble, installed environmentally styled works throughout the park. Consisting of ten large ash and pine logs—planed on one side—Noble inscribed them with fragments of literature and poetry using Poe, Nietzsche, T.S. Eliot, Wittgenstein, and Shakespeare as his inspiration.  As you walk around the park, you come across the logs here and there—at first impression, mere logs.  It’s delightful how they turn up randomly, and the brevity of their inscriptions reminds us of haiku.  This incompleteness invites a kind of filling in, especially in association with the natural setting.  For a newspaper story about Noble’s art residency, CLICK HERE.

If you like your environmental poetry more fleshed out, you can also hike around the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller Park’s Robert Frost Poetry Trail.  Thirteen poems—complete and presented in conventional page-like formats—line the walking trail. They seem a little like homework assignments dogging you into the woods.  One wonders what Frost himself would say about these woodland installations.  Would he prefer them here to, let’s say, his poems printed on subway placards?

Robert Frost Poetry Trail
The poem, Come In, is one of 13 poems found on the Robert Frost Poetry Trail.

We are, of course, very proud of our own distinctive version of installation art.  Our beautifully illustrated haiku posters can be found year round in the many brightly decorated kiosks dotting downtown Syracuse NY.  If you like discovering poetry in the environment, or are fascinated by installation art, send us your photos and thoughts—we’ll share them here with our followers.

Happy Trails!

Autumn’s Last Hurrah

It’s Halloween night.  In a few hours, Daylight Savings Time ends and Autumn drifts more quickly towards late Fall.  Leaves that just last week were peaking in glorious color have now mostly fallen, leaving trees bare.  And if the wind doesn’t blow them down the hill and off your lawn soon, you’ll need to go out there and rake them up in the morning!

While the world around us is going through its seasonal changes, this time of year can sometimes be a bit melancholy—summer has clearly ended, leaves on trees are mostly gone, the weather is colder and wetter, you need a sweater when you leave the house, and winter is not too far behind.  But, Fall can also be a colorful opportunity for peaceful reflection, long invigorating walks, breathing in deep the smell of crisp clean air and listening gladly to the memorable sound of crunching leaves underfoot.

Syracuse poet, Amy Nicholson, contributed this skillfully written adieu to a blessedly gorgeous October in 2010:

  Round apples, red leaves                                                                                                                                             Snowflakes on jack-o-lanterns                                                                                                                                             Fade to November

Frequent Syracuse Poster Project haiku contributor, Rosalyn Carroll, (Manlius NY) deftly describes in her 2012 haiku, a carefree, joyful moment that can only happen in late Autumn:

 As I run through it,                                                                                                                                                                      a blanket of red, gold leaves                                                                                                                                                      dances behind me

Another of our favorite posters which beautifully captures Autumn’s peaceful essence was created for the 2007 Syracuse Poster Project year.  It was written by frequent Syracuse Poster Project haiku contributor, Claire Bobrycki (Syracuse) and illustrated by former Syracuse University Illustration student Lucas Slominski, now an artist for ZeniMax Online Studios in Maryland.

Breathe in--step, crunch, look. Red, gold, orange, brown--breathe out. Fall in Syracuse
Breathe in–step, crunch, look. Red, gold, orange, brown–breathe out. Fall in Syracuse

In 2008, Syracuse Poster Project haiku contributor,  William Padgett, (Woodstock NY) wrote this vivid poem, beautifully echoing Autumn’s last hurrah:

Crisp autumn sunshine                                                                                                                                                   Shadows stretch while dry leaves dance                                                                                                                           Warm scarf pulled tightly

So, don’t forget to set your clock and ‘fall back’ til Spring, put away those Halloween treats, get your sweater on and rake up those leaves!

Happy Autumn!

Autumn’s Apple Harvest

Apples, Apples, Apples! Nothing says Autumn better than apples–Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Cortland, Cameo, Paula Red, Granny Smith, Gala, Ginger Gold, Macoun, McIntosh, Empire, Fuji, Jonamac, Jersey Mac–take your pick!  Red, green, soft, firm or crisp, there is nothing like the sweet essence of fresh Autumn apples. Add a little sugar–maybe some flour and butter, too–and you have apple crisp, apple fritters, apple sauce, apple pie and apple donuts.  Of course, don’t forget sweet or hard apple cider, apple wine, even apple vodka!  Need we say more?  

Well, yes, actually…our local poets have plenty to say about apples, too!  Digging through our archives, we found several haiku from our contributors.  We thought we’d share a couple with you including this artfully written haiku by Sallie Bailey (Fayetteville NY) in 2010.  If you’ve ever driven south on I-81 towards Lafayette and Beak and Skiff Apple Orchards, you’ve seen this remarkably beautiful scene! 

 South of the city                                                                                                                                                                        Orchards unfold like carpets                                                                                                                                               Patterned with apples

Kathleen Nyzio’s (Skaneateles NY) charming 2011 haiku deftly describes the sensory effects apples can have on us–even in our dreams and memories!

 Sweet apple orchards                                                                                                                                                            Cinnamon spice flooded dreams                                                                                                                                                  Wake me up, autumn!  

And since we’re speaking today of apples, we could not resist (no pun intended) revisiting this gorgeous 2004 Syracuse Poster Project haiku poster.  The poet: frequent Syracuse Poster Project haiku contributor,  Peggy Liuzzi.  The artist, former Syracuse University Illustration student, Morgan McArdle, now a storyboard artist and illustrator living in Sherman Oaks, CA.

Like Eve in Eden I wander apple-lush hills dreaming my first bite
Like Eve in Eden
I wander apple-lush hills
dreaming my first bite

Whether apple picking or baking an apple pie with your mother, whether a warm memory of hot cider after raking fallen leaves or bobbing for apples at a Halloween party, apples and Autumn go hand-in-hand.  We think you’ll agree, Marilyn Shelton’s (Baldwinsville NY) 2005 haiku exquisitely captures Autumn’s many treasures:

 Twilight’s harvest sky                                                                                                                                                                Frames apple boughs, pumpkins, drifts                                                                                                                                       of leaves. We are home.

Happy Autumn!

Autumn Storms

By now, you’ve no doubt noticed the hundreds of fallen Autumn leaves blanketing your yard!  A beautiful, summer-like Columbus Day weekend, was bookended by slate-grey skies and stormy weather.  Wind, rain and mostly cloudy skies have been the norm ever since.  With the wind howling and blowing so hard at times, one would think Hurricane Joaquin had decided to stay in Syracuse for a few days! Leaves have been flying all about like heavy snowflakes, slapping windshields and office windows, scurrying across busy roadways, drifting against sidewalk curbs, piling up into small colorful mounds inside window wells and under porch steps.  Along with the wind, cold rain has left roads slick with wet fallen leaves, covering neighborhood lawns and city streets.  Fall has most certainly made a landing here in Syracuse!

If you’ve been out and about during any of these storms, we think you will agree: this 2007 Syracuse Poster Project publication vividly describes a scene you may have witnessed in your travels.  The poem was written in 2001 by Syracuse’s Sherry Chayat; the artist, former Syracuse University Illustration student, Maria Teresa Madariaga, a freelance illustrator from New York.

Geese Honking Southward Over Onondaga Creek-- Whirling Dervish Leaves
Geese Honking Southward
Over Onondaga Creek–
Whirling Dervish Leaves

Pompey poet, and Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Jay Cox, richly captured a similar blustery scene with his 2006 haiku:     

  A world of faces                                                                                                                                                       congregates at a crosswalk—                                                                                                                                           leaves pass in the wind                                                                                                                                                            

Another of our archived haiku, which splendidly reflects Autumn’s ofttimes tempestuous weather, was written in 2008 by Jungtae Lee of Syracuse:

  Winds gather the clouds                                                                                                                                                         the city moves through the leaves                                                                                                                                         my collar goes up

What moves you when stormy Autumn weather brews up a howling wind?  Write us your thoughts in the comments – we’d love to hear from you!

Happy Autumn!

Scarecrows, Pumpkins and Mums, oh my!

Have you noticed all the playful scarecrows and plump pumpkins on your drive into work these first few weeks of Autumn? They seem to be everywhere–decorating lamp posts and porch steps and cheering up many a cloudy morning.  And don’t forget those towering sunflowers and short colorful mums wherever you look!  

We found this lovely tribute to early autumn sunflowers in our archives.  It was written in 2007 by Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Sharon Rorer of Syracuse, NY:

Lofty sunflowers
arrayed in golden splendor
heads above the rest

Autumn is undoubtedly transforming the CNY landscape as we say goodbye to Summer.  Shorter days, cooler nights have been the most noticeable, with treetops turning red and gold overnight.  Elephant’s eye-high corn fields have been mostly cut or built into crazy mazes for Halloween fun, while local pumpkin patches are overflowing with vivid shades of orange.

Using pumpkins as her theme, a 2012 haiku by Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Jane Verostek of Syracuse, New York, charmingly depicts this change in the season:

Sunset awakens
winding trails of pumpkin dreams
nature is glowing

Our featured Syracuse Poster Project image this week beautifully illustrates autumn’s slow and colorful transformation of the Syracuse area.  Created in 2007, the haiku was written by Syracuse, NY poet Sherry Chayat and illustrated by former Syracuse University Illustration student, Emily Lopuch, now an illustrator and aspiring writer living in Rhode Island.

Flotilla of ducks Swimming toward Armory Square Don’t know summer’s gone
Flotilla of ducks
Swimming toward Armory Square
Don’t know summer’s gone

Syracuse Poster Project haiku contributor, Sheila Forsyth of Fayetteville, NY, wrote this touching farewell to Summer in 2011.

Traitor trees with their
Turncoat leaves give up summer
To winds of autumn

How do you celebrate the arrival of Autumn? Can you sum it up in a Haiku? Send us your haiku in the comments and we’ll publish it here on the Poetry Blog next week!

Happy Autumn!

Rattle #47 – Japanese Forms Issue

Back in the Spring of 2014, we announced on our Poetry Blog, the call for submissions of Japanese forms of poetry (including our favorite: Haiku) from Rattle: Poetry for the 21st Century.  The results have been published in Rattle #47.  You can find this colorful edition at   Some selections may surprise you!


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.

      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

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.


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!