A Haiku For Black History Month 2020

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Before we leave February behind in the snow, we wanted to add one of our illustrated haiku posters to this year’s celebration of Black History Month.  As we’ve posted on these pages before, what began as the brainchild of Carter G. Woodson in 1926 to celebrate “Negro History Week”, Black History Month was expanded in 1976 to include the entire month of February. And, for each year’s month long celebration, ASALH, or the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, focuses on a central theme based on the Black experience, race relations and the many accomplishments and contributions of Black Americans throughout our history.  

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For this year’s theme, African Americans and the Vote, ASALH “. . . . marks the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment and the culmination of the women’s suffrage movement.  The year 2020 also marks the sesquicentennial of the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) and the right of black men to the ballot after the Civil War.” What a fitting theme indeed for this Election Year!

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Our featured haiku poster from our 2008 Series beautifully depicts one aspect of a struggle many people fight for.  While Poet, Kali Huff’s words provide the hopeful message, James Ransome’s strikingly poignant illustration beautifully embodies her words. As Mr. Ransome states, “. . . . I wanted to illustrate something emotional. So I thought it would be best if I found a poem that symbolized African Americans’ struggles, or women’s struggles, or some group’s struggles. That’s what got my attention, this idea of struggling and succeeding against the odds.

Like the red lotus / I bloom from mud. A symbol / for struggle; new life

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To read other haiku from our archives highlighting Black History Month, Click Here! If you’re interested in purchasing this poster, its matching Note Card Collection, or any of our other Syracuse Poster Project haiku posters, Click here!

Thank you!

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Holiday Haiku

The Holidays! Oh, the excited anticipation of it all! There’s the planning and the decorating, the ever-changing shopping lists…two miles long. Then, there’s the food and the get-togethers, the writing out of Holiday Greeting cards and the wrapping of gifts. And, don’t forget the lighting of candles and the Yuletide tree or 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, the rain and the snow, 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 Gingerbread Houses:

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

by 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!

by Rosalyn M. Carroll (Manlius 2006)

….and, the hunt for the perfect gift:

Mom clutches my hand
We rush through winding traffic
Holiday shopping

by 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

by Michelle Miles (Jerusalem 2016)

….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

by Ronnie Bell (Syracuse 2010)

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

by 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

However you spend these last few days of 2019, Happy Holidays!

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

by Elizabeth Westfall (North Syracuse 2014)

Haiku For A Winter’s Day

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

From our archives of submitted haiku:

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

the dazzling sunlight
after snowstorm is over
makes diamonds of snow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay Warm — only 21 more days ‘til Spring!

Rosalyn M. Carroll for Syracuse Poster Project

Haiku To Warm Up January

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

As dryly described in Matt Tompkins’ (Owego 2013) haiku above, this January has been cold and snowy–and everything else inbetween!

Haiku has the perfect ability to express these Winter days in such a way that you can nearly forget it’s January…well, almost! It’s too early for Spring Fever, so try warming up with these few 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 his colorful haiku, poet Lee Savidge (Liverpool 2013) sets the mood for a day of 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) vivid haiku describes a unique experience known only on a clear Winter’s night:

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

If you have ever snowshoed, you know you’ve made an indelible path on your journey–even if it’s just to get to the backyard to fill the birdfeeder! Snowshoeing at night? Finding your way isn’t a problem at all, as Joan Cofrancesco’s warm haiku (Camillus 2001), describes:

Moon looms over pines
Along the Beaver Lake trail
Snowshoes left behind

Speaking about enjoying outdoor activities during the Winter months, it seems only appropriate that we feature once again, this rich haiku poster from our 2014 Series.  The haiku, with a wonderful play on words, was written by Dianne Emmick and richly illustrated by former Syracuse University student, Ash Merkel.

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

Lest we forget, have you noticed the neighborhood kids with their colorful 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!

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

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!

Stay Warm!

Rosalyn M. Carroll for Syracuse Poster Project


Haiku for Winter Storms

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

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

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

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

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

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

A beautiful image from Laura Ferrel (Skaneateles 2013):

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

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

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

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

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

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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!

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

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

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

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

Rosalyn M. Carroll for The Syracuse Poster Project

Warm Weather on Your Mind?

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

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

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

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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


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