Our 2019 Haiku Poster Series – An Update!

Selecting the 2019 Series

In case you missed it, we recently announced the poet – artist selections for our 2019 Poster Series!  As you may recall, for this year’s event, we reached out to independent artists from throughout the community to help create our haiku posters.  A record 34 artists responded!

Responding artists selected haiku from hundreds of poems submitted by new and former contributors.  A total of 15 posters were finally decided upon by a panel of five judges. This blind selection included awarding a first-, second-, and third-place poster–also new this year!  And, because we received such a wealth of good work, our Board selected two additional haiku posters–“board picks”–bumping the 2019 Series to 18 posters, up from our usual 16!

You may not be aware of this, but in addition to each year’s call for haiku and securing the artists to illustrate these wonderful poems, we also engage a local advertising and marketing firm to help us.  This year, we are very pleased to announce that the Syracuse office of Mower has joined us with their support, including a one-of-a-kind contribution by one of its Creative Supervisors, Steven Peters.

Our annual unveiling event for the 2019 Series is tentatively scheduled for the evening of Thursday, April 18.  Mark your calendars and help us celebrate this wonderful union of art, haiku and community!

Thanks again to our judges, board members, contributors, sponsors and supporters!  And, Congratulations to the poets and artists of our 2019 Series!

Listed below are the 2019 poet-artist pairs, ordered by poet’s name first. Former, contributing poets or artists are bolded; by clicking on their name, a link will take you to their previous work with us. 

Peter Allen & Aaron Lee

Dianne Apter & Kathleen O’Dell

Mary Jane BeVard & Erin Nowak

Laura Braaten & Dani Pendergast

Sherry Chayat & Steven Peters

Aubry Cooper & Cayetano Valenzuela

David Harper & Eva Hunter

Shari Hemsley & Alexandra Grant

Perri Hogan & Daniel Shanahan

Kyle Johnson & Hall Groat Sr.

Diane Lansing & Jill Pierce Long

Michele Madonna & Alyssa Dearborn

Elina Park & Anne Lathrop

Elizabeth Patton & William Padgett

Carolyn Senft & Jamie Santos

Marilyn Shelton & Marianne Dalton

Erin Stepowany & Jamie Ashlaw

James & Barbara Yonai & Paul Lilly


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.

Brownie Points?

Haiku on decorative paper
A submission from Randie Mosenthal, formerly of Syracuse, now living in Denver.

Were you the kind of pupil to submit assignments embellished with decorations? From the stream of haiku we receive, certain submissions make a splash. The writers set their haiku in fancy fonts or print them on floral bordered paper. As screeners and collators for the contest, we think of ourselves as impartial adults, unswayed by decorative touches. But the truth is, we love them. They remind us of grade school. And after all, isn’t the aesthetic treatment of poetry inherent to our mission?

So you may be wondering, Is that pretty girl who submits her haiku in purple cursive going to win? Probably not. First we enter all haiku into a database, then print it, using a single font and blind attribution. By the time screeners or student artists view the work, there’s no telling which poet made her haiku beautiful.

Thanking Our Techies

Kevin Foresti and Qianyi Wang
Kevin Foresti and Qianyi Wang integrating a WordPress blog into our website.

Before going further with this blog, we should thank the people who set it up: Kevin Foresti and Qianyi Wang. Back when newsletters were the medium of choice, you didn’t have to invest much energy in setting up “platforms.” When we got to blogging, we spent a lot of energy—first on a custom platform, then on WordPress. Integrating WordPress into our website wasn’t simple. Kevin and Qianyi teamed up to overcome the challenges.

Kevin is a Syracuse-based marketing and social media consultant. Qianyi, a native of Taiyuan, China, came to us from the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University to work as a web development intern. After graduating with a master’s degree in information management, she moved to California to look for work. She recently landed a full-time, paid internship with Cie Digital in El Segundo, California. Congratulations Qianyi!

To Name or Not to Name

Syracuse Heron Poster
2005 poster by poet Catherine Landis and artist Alexius Wronka.

Our poets are writing about place, but we usually advise them not to name the place. The poem should conjure the feeling or sense of a place without hammering a name on it. But then people write haiku mentioning Syracuse anyway, or some other locale, and it turns out fine. In fact, one of our early illustrators, Alexius Wronka, selected a poem with no mention of Syracuse, but added Syracuse anyway, typeset in large capital letters above Catherine Landis’s poem:

heron stands upright
tail feathers brush stream waters
teaching me stillness

The poster became one of our most popular.

Did you know that you can explore an interactive map of places that have inspired posters? You can link to it by clicking here.

Meet the Illustrator of Our Dog Rescue Poster

Dog Rescue in Syracuse, NY
A cropped version of Tim Coolbaugh’s dog rescue illustration for the 2016 poster series.

Our annual call for haiku is in full swing until the deadline of Sept. 4. The 2016 poster series will consist of 15 posters created the traditional way (haiku first, illustration second) and one special poster created in reverse (image first, haiku second).

For the special poster, artist Tim Coolbaugh illustrated a dog rescue scene. At first glance, it’s a simple image of a dog in the passenger seat of a car, as seen from the driver’s perspective, with Clinton Square in the background. The back story is more elaborate.

Coolbaugh graduated from the Syracuse University with a master’s degree in illustration and has overseen the illustration program’s symposium. He is also a dog-lover, has owned several rescue dogs, and volunteers as a driver for dog rescue services. He has been helping to transport dogs from kill shelters to places that will find them homes since 2002. He estimates he has helped 2,300 dogs and cats, but mostly dogs.

“Most of the time, I’m a link in a chain,” Coolbaugh said. “Very rarely am I the person who starts the dog off, or who makes a placement in Syracuse. Usually, the dogs are on their way someplace else.”

In Coolbaugh’s typical scenario, dogs are traveling from the south, where kill shelters are prevalent, to destinations in Canada or New England. Each week as many as 12 transports may travel through Syracuse.

Coolbaugh participates in a network of 30 to 40 volunteer drivers. The transports usually take two days, with each driver driving 75 to 100 miles for a rendezvous. Coolbaugh drives on Sundays, and may make two or three runs in a given day.

“What I get out of this is knowing that the animal is safe and is going to have a life,” he said.

The dog that shares its life with Coolbaugh is Velvet, a seven-year old black Lab.

Last year, before joining us as an illustrator, Coolbaugh submitted this haiku:

Driving through the ‘Cuse,

a shelter dog by my side,

a fresh start awaits.

To submit haiku to complement Coolbaugh’s illustration, or haiku for the traditional call for haiku, visit our website.

Listen To John Ashbery Read his poem 37 Haiku

In his 1984 book A Wave, the great American poet John Ashbery published a poem titled “37 Haiku.” This influential poem is composed of, as you might guess, 37 haiku, each presented as a single line of the poem. Come to the edge of the barn the property really begins there In a smaller tower shuttered and put away there You lay aside your hair like a book that is to important to read.


Thanks to PennSound the wonderful online resource of recordings of poets reading their own work, you can listen to a recording of Ashbery reading his poem at Harvard University on November 10, 1987.