Haiku for Winter Storms

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

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

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

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

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

The monstrous yellow machines
remove snow–spread salt.

A beautiful image from Laura Ferrel (Skaneateles 2013):

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

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

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

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

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


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

Armies of snowplows
Invade snowbound neighborhoods
Winter prison break

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

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

Here’s hoping March goes out like a lamb!


Haiku for St. Valentine’s Day

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Rosalyn M. Carroll for The Syracuse Poster Project

Warm Weather on Your Mind?

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Rosalyn M. Carroll for the Syracuse Poster Project

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

Haiku to Warm Up January

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Stay Warm!

Rosalyn M. Carroll for the Syracuse Poster Project

A Few Highlights From 2017

Remember back when it was December 31, 2016?  When January 1, 2017 was just the beginning of another new year?  You may ask, where’d the time go?  Or, perhaps you reminisced about all the ups and downs of 2016.  But, here we are, the first week of another new year already behind us!  The Holidays are officially over and Winter is here with a frightful blast of cold and grey!  What better time than to sit and reflect on all the things that kept us warm and busy during 2017!

For the Syracuse Poster Project, 2017 was a particularly good year.  We saw several fruitful collaborations established, many ideas realized, and met some new friends along the way.

Fruitful Collaborations!  Coinciding with the Erie Canal Bicentennial, we joined statewide festivities by issuing a special Erie Canal themed poster for our 2017 Poster Series.  We commissioned Tong “Amy” Su, a graduate student in the Syracuse University Illustration Program, to illustrate a scene for our poets to respond to.  Su created a lively bird’s-eye view of canal commerce with the winning haiku coming from Ross Getman.

canal side commerce / briefcase, balloon, umbrella / echoes of past steps


We then teamed up with the Erie Canal Museum to win a grant from Tomorrow’s Neighborhoods Today for an installation of our Erie Canal Poster at the Museum.  WSyracuse_Public_Art poster panel installation at Erie Canal Museum1.jpge reproduced Su’s historic Canal poster in triplicate—the original poster flanked by two enlargements—and installed these three panels on the exterior of the Museum’s storage building.  Syracuse_Public_Art_poster panel installation at Erie Canal Museum2




From former windows on the second story, the Canal posters overlook Erie Boulevard.

walls of erie museum
Erie Canal Museum

On the heels of this successful rendering, we found ourselves collaborating with the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, host of the World Canals Conference, to produce a commemorative poster for the Conference which took place in Syracuse this past September.  Tong “Amy” Su’s work for the Poster Series was so appealing, we asked her to develop another poster to promote the Conference.  The stunning result prompted the organizers to purchase 50 of her beautiful posters as gifts for their speakers at the Conference!

World Canals Conference Poster




Something New!  Thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones, we’ve become a video nation.  The Poster Project joined the flow this year with a series of splashy videos produced largely by enthusiastic volunteers and, in one instance, by professional videographers.

First up was our “Public Dollars for Public Art” video where we advocated the value of public art by making a whimsical case for allocating parking meter revenues to public art in Syracuse.  The piece has yet to shift any resources in that direction, but it did win us a $500 award in the Central New York Community Foundation’s “What Matters to Me” contest.  

Jim Emmons

We proudly passed these monies to the charity of our choice—CNY Arts—for its good work advancing arts and culture in Central New York.  Click here to read about Jim Emmons’ winning entry and video and click here to read about the other winners of the Foundation’s 2017 contest.

Our next series of video productions took flight thanks to a volunteer, Priya Narayanan, who briefly graced us with her filmmaking skills.  Priya studied information technology and taught herself filmmaking on the side.  She joined us just before the opening celebration for the 2017 Poster Series.  She dashed off a series of video portraits from the event, produced a video on our travelling exhibit at the Upstate Cancer Center, and, for her last work, whipped together a piece on Art on the Porches—click here to view her work at this annual event and here for videos from the 2017 Poster Event.  Over the summer, we had to say goodbye to Priya as she and her husband moved to Delaware.  We’ll miss working with her!

We’re tempted to call 2017 the year of Splash Poetry!  Our story is often one of circling back: we get excited about an idea, but can’t find the time or resources to pull it off.  It simmers on a back burner for a year or more, until finally we stir it again, add the right ingredients, and serve it up.  That’s how it was with our Splash Poetry Project.

Joe Murphy

Board member, Joe Murphy, was exploring civic poetry groups in other parts of the country when he discovered Mass Poetry doing something fun: stenciling poetry on sidewalks with special spray paint that only shows up when rained upon or splashed with water! This seemed tailor made for our haiku—and for rainy Syracuse Summers!  But, the idea had to mature for a year or so until the time was right to bring it to term.

Finally last Spring, along with an uplifting, out-of-the blue, contribution from the Central New York Community Foundation, Joe and fellow board member, Jason Evans, kick-started the conception and our Splash Poetry Project was born!  Together, they designed stencils, had them laser cut, and then stenciled site-specific haiku at 10 downtown locations.  (Click here to see where the splash haiku were initially placed.)

Rain_Poetry Joe Murphy and Jason Evans
Joe Murphy and Jason Evan


When the original poems washed away, we stenciled them again.  But, this time, we hired a pair of professional videographers, Michael Barletta and Courtney Rile, of Daylight Blue Media, to document our appropriately named, Splash Poetry Project.  They did an excellent job, both of filming as Joe and Jason stenciled poems on downtown sidewalks, and of editing the footage into a vivid portrait of civic art in action!   This was our first experience with the power of professional filmmaking, and we’re delighted to have joined forces with Mike and Courtney.  Click here to view this wonderful video!  Keep an eye out for more Splash Poetry in the warmer months of 2018.

New Friends!  We were selected by the Downtown Committee of Syracuse to participate in the first installment of its Art in the Windows Project.  Funded by the Central New Community Foundation, the project has brightened a dozen downtown shopfronts and windows with art installations.  We installed 10 posters from our archives in the poster boxes outside the Post Office on Salina Street.

Over the summer, we worked with executive director of CNY Jazz, Larry Luttinger, to install large-format jazz-themed posters in the newly renovated lobby of Jazz Central The display consists of two posters on panels, with a third panel in storage for periodic change outs.  The Poster featured here is from our 2010 Series.  The Jazz-themed haiku was written by Elisabeth Anderson and the poster illustrated by Eric Johanni an adjunct faculty member of the Art Department at Phoenix College2010Anderson_Johanni

Carbonated jazz,
sloe gin soul with open mic,
two drink minimum.

Lastly, we joined Friends of Onondaga Central Library to sell framed posters from the Rosamond Gifford Lecture Series through our online store.  The posters depict, and are autographed by, featured writers from this prodigious series. 

David Sedaris Poster

Sales benefit both the Onondaga County Library System and Syracuse Poster Project.  As we diversify our engagement with civic art, we view these literary posters as belonging to that realm. You’ll also see that we worked with the Central Library to install a library-themed poster, like the one below, next to the third floor elevator.  The Poster featured here is from our 2003 Series and was written by Janine DeBaise and illustrated by former Syracuse University Illustration student, Christopher Savido, whose portrait of former President George Bush created quite a stir in 2004.  2003DeBaise_Savido




Rows and rows of books
Lure me into their pages
I leave with arms full

New Board Members, Volunteers and Interns!  After a period of attrition—veteran board members retiring from the board—2017 was a year for board growth.  We’re now enjoying the energy and skills of several newcomers, including: Anna Putintseva, a lawyer with Bousquet Holstein; Lindsay Speicher, a community liaison at Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield; Adam Rozum, an independent designer and owner of Polonaise European Market; Jason Evans, an architect at Ashley McGraw; Gwen Morgan, a media specialist at LeMoyne College; and Chris Montgomery, a jobs specialist at SUNY Educational Opportunity Center.

We were also fortunate to have several new volunteers join us, including: Naomi Coufal, John Kulak and Brittney Cason.  And, of course, we’d be lost without our long-standing volunteers, sponsors and partners as well as our Interns who work with us for a short period of time, but produce phenomenal work.  (Click here to see a list of our interns from over the past few years.)

For example, before we said our goodbyes to our hard-working Spring semester intern, Naomi Masingale, she was the subject of a photo documentary by photographer, Nancy Kasberg, who came to us from the Military Journalism Program at SU’s Newhouse School of Public Communication

Naomi Masingale

This wonderful narrative slideshow, complete with Naomi’s voice over, walks you through her internship experience with us.  (Click here to view this video!)  Congratulations to Naomi who graduated this past year with a Masters in Arts Administration from LeMoyne College!                                                                                                                   

In addition, our student interns were paramount to tweaking our website this year!  For a small organization, we have a robust website.  With help from web development interns, we added significant features to our growing presence on the web. Most notably, we re-established an interactive map that shows all locations that have given rise to posters over the years, with links to corresponding posters, artists, and poets–since our founding in 2001, more than 500 poets have submitted haiku!  The map first existed on a Google platform, until Google discontinued the service.  It was then in hiatus for a couple of years until we took on an intern, Xi Chen, capable of investigating a new platform. Thanks to Xi and her successor, Yunhui Zhu, we now share our interactive map via Mapbox.  You can explore a map that shows where poets come from, which municipalities or neighborhoods are most poetic, and where the hotspots of poetic energy come from!  To see the map, visit our Participate page and scroll down.  Find your haiku poster here!

The website now has an improved Photo Gallery Section where visitors can quickly peruse both the Poster Series archived by year (click here to view) and/or photos from the annual unveiling events (click here to see these).   And, the Shop section of our website took on two new categories: one for literary posters promoting the Rosamond-Gifford Lecture Series as mentioned above; another for graphic work by Syracuse artists working in veins similar to ours.  

jason evans
Jason Evans

Thus you’ll find work by local designers Tommy Lincoln, Jason Evans and Cayetano Valenzuela, with more to come in 2018.  Click here to shop for your favorite posters!

More on Information Technology!  What end-of-year summary would be complete without a report from the IT Department?  Frankly, we wish we had an IT department!  It would be incredibly helpful.  Nevertheless, in our measured way, we made IT strides in 2017.  With a grant from the Central New York Community Foundation, we bought three high-performance laptops, installed new accounting and graphics software, and subscribed to the cloud computing services of Office 365.  All of which enables us to take on more interns and volunteers, and to work with them efficiently.

Funding!  We remain a small nonprofit organization supported by product sales, corporate sponsorship, and charitable grants—no dedicated year-to-year funding.  As challenging as it is to raise funds, we experienced bright spots in 2017.  We brought on three new corporate sponsors–TCGPlayer, Bousquet Holstein and Drive Research— and saw a longstanding sponsor, Byrne Dairy, significantly boost its sponsorship.

In the New Year!  With our new computer resources, we’re well positioned to begin work with a growing roster of interns and volunteers.  These new hands should help us produce the 2018 Poster Series and move on to tasks that sometimes exceed our resources: applying for grants, refining our website, developing new products and projects.

In fact, we’re already underway with a specially commissioned poster from Nicora Gangi for our 2018 series on the theme of Syracuse as a place of welcome for all people and cultures.  Jean Fahey’s fine haiku was selected to match this poster which will be unveiled in April.

A beacon of hope2018 gangi
City of welcoming arms
A place to call home

We will further this theme by reviving our Cards for New Americans Project. We initiated the cards project several years ago with partial funding.  The idea is to issue packs of notecards as welcome gifts for new Americans at their naturalization ceremonies.  In 2018, we’ll resume fundraising and see the project to completion.

Incidentally, our featured Poster is from the 2010 Series; the haiku written by Wendy Moleski and poster illustrated by Gina Kim:



The last dish is fired
Kiln’s cooled, now the auction starts
Good—bye my old friend




Thank You!  As you see by these few highlights,  2017 was a very productive year for us.  We could not have done this without the loyal support of our friends, board members, volunteers, interns and our families.  Thank you for your continued support of the Syracuse Poster Project!  

Happy New Year to you!

Jim Emmons with Rosalyn M. Carroll for the Syracuse Poster Project


Haiku for the Holiday Season!

The Holidays! Oh, the excited anticipation of them all! The planning and the decorating; the ever-changing shopping lists–two miles long; the food and the get-togethers with all that wine! And, then there’s the writing out of Christmas cards and the wrapping of presents; the lighting of candles and the Yuletide tree; the sounds of music in the air, at the school concert and in stained-glassed churches everywhere!

Phew! So, between the stress and the laughter, we’d like to offer you these few haiku from our archives to brighten your celebration of this season of light and love, hope and peace!

The holidays are Cookie Exchanges and building Gingerbread Houses with the kids:

Gingerbread delights
The Erie Canal is trimmed
With giggles and smiles!

Jane Verostek (Syracuse 2012)

It’s the hunt for the perfect Christmas tree:

Horse-drawn sleigh ride to
Cut a Christmas tree just right–
We build traditions!

Rosalyn M. Carroll (Manlius 2006)

Or, for the perfect gift:

Mom clutches my hand
We rush through winding traffic
Holiday shopping

Mary Demetrick (East Syracuse 2004)

The holidays are Mistletoe and Holly and beautiful Poinsettias:

Crimson-tipped arrows
Pointing North, East, South and West
Christmas arsenal

Michelle Miles (Amman, Jordan 2016)

Or, they’re a night time drive through darkened snowy streets for a visual treat; where Christmas and candle lights brighten neighborhood windows and lampposts, doorways and rooftops:

Levitating lights
Vivid vista sparkling home
Where the heart is full

Ronnie Bell (Syracuse 2010)

And, for many, the holidays are not complete without going downtown for the ceremonious “lighting of the tree”:

Huge pine in the Square
Anticipates the signal,
Then lights up Winter

Marilyn Shelton (Dunmore 2008)

Our featured Poster Illustrates just such a scene. The haiku poster is from our 2009 Series. The cheerful haiku was written by Nancy Liccione (Clay 2003) and brightly illustrated by former Syracuse University Illustration Student, Yealim Kong, now a Home Textile & Graphic Designer based in New York City.

Nighttime in the Square / Tree lighting and carols sung / Skaters mingle there

2009 Liccione_Kong

However you spend these last few days of 2017, we wish you a warm and merry Holiday Season!

Ripped fingertip gloves
Cold keys and warm melodies
Fill dark streets with light

 Elizabeth Westfall (North Syracuse 2014)

A Haiku for Two Full Moons–Neither Blue

Springing forward this year, Daylight Savings Time brought with it the unusual surprise and delight of a full moon appearing twice over two evenings!!  Our beautiful moon was equally full on the evenings of March 11 and 12.  

This curious lunar event brings to mind the enchanting haiku poster from our 2002 Series.  A collaboration of words by poet, Bryan Wilbur, and art by former Syracuse University Illustration Student, Andy Walker, the poster reflects the view outside on this wintry March evening on the cusp of Spring.

Syracuse’s crows / laugh as a fairy ringed moon / paints the frozen peace

2002 Wilbur_Walker

Stay warm and think Spring!!