A Memorial Day Post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Haiku for Your Valentine!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2007-gaurnier_supranowicz

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

Wishing you a warm and happy Valentine’s Day!

Haiku to Welcome Summer

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

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

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

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

 colorful balloons                                                                                                                                                             drift lazily overhead                                                                                                                                                           breathing like dragons

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

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

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

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

 rooted in Oakwood                                                                                                                                                            old trees towering above                                                                                                                                                  granite monuments

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

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

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

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

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

A Haiku Reflection on Memorial Day

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

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

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

16 Wilbur & Franceschini

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

 

 

 

Springtime Reflections



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

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

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

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

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

   flowering trees flaunt                                                                                                                                                      voluptuous silky blooms                                                                                                                                                  of new spring dresses

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

   Bobbing goldfinches                                                                                                                                                        Upon purple coneflowers                                                                                                                                                Ignore my feeders

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

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

105_11_Forsyth_Black

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

 

Waiting for Spring to Spring!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

374_17_Yonai_Andrews

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

  Spring rains gently coax                                                                                                                                               earth for purple primroses                                                                                                                                         to open anew

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

 

 

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?

30_01_Bowman_Kilpatrick

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

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

274_10_Parrott_Frost

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!