Cloudy Haiku

In just a few syllables, Haiku are a perfect way to capture a scene, a memory, or even a mood.  Regardless the season–or time of day–clouds can do pretty much the same thing. Mountainous thunderstorm clouds can be majestic.  Serene, wispy cirrus clouds can make a sunset heavenly.  In color and shape, or by how quickly they’re moving, clouds will let you know if you need to carry an umbrella or if you’re likely to rev up the snowblower–in which case, if they’re very low and grey, you might consider going back to bed!  But, on a bright Summer’s day, when clouds are drifting lazily, high in the sky, watching these seemingly magical shapeshifters is pure joy.

From our archives of contributed haiku, we’ve selected a cloud-themed few for your Summer reading pleasure.  Can you tell which season the poet is describing?  Have you ever experienced the same feelings as expressed in the haiku?  Do you remember a day the clouds were just like those characterized by the poet?

From Cynthia Perrine (Fabius 2015):

Sun breaks through the clouds / Mist rises from the water / Day begins anew

From Jay Cox (Pompey 2005):

Cumulus clouds float / in a deep-blue sky–downtown / petunias in bloom.

From Pamela Lynch (Oneida 2013):

Fronts collide to paint / phenomenal cloud skyscapes / Swirling overhead

From Michael Brigandi (Syracuse 2014):

Playing in the grass / Childhood days slipping away / Like clouds rolling by

From Nancy Preston (Syracuse 2013):

Clouds heaped like meringue / cumulus jubilation! / Summer sky party

From Maggie James (Syracuse 2010):

One, then two at once! / Colorful balloons drift east / Low clouds they vanish…

From Diane Lansing (Syracuse 2014):

Dragonfly’s kiss makes / once still pond pulsate rings of / fractured clouds and trees.

From our 2004 Syracuse Poster Project Series, a wonderful display of Summer.  The haiku was written by Jennifer Sanford and the poster illustrated by Cally Jones, former Syracuse University Illustration student.

Summer breezes lift / gull and dragon kites across / Onondaga Lake

2004 Sanford_Jones

Wishing you carefree Summer days where, as Rosalyn M. Carroll (Manlius 2017) writes:

Daydreaming on a / Cotton candy cloud–oh, the / Places I can see

 

Haiku to Welcome Summer

At long last, it’s coming on Summer!  From our archive of contributed haiku, we’ve found a few to highlight the return of this sunny season.

Spring flowers have faded, making way for bright Summer blooms.  Everything’s comin’ up roses, too, as vividly described by Joan Loveridge-Sanbonmatsu (Syracuse), in her 2011 haiku:

 A burst of petals                                                                                                                                      flame red, melon, pale yellow                                                                                                             Summer rose gardens

After a long Winter and wet Spring, neighbors are slowly emerging from their homes, greeting each other like old friends.  Beth Miller (Auburn) skillfully creates such a scene in her 2015 haiku:

Warm friendly greetings                                                                                                                       Summer on South Geddes Street                                                                                                           Flowers lead to porches

Outdoors, there’s the sound of lawns being mowed and the comforting smell of fresh cut grass.  Green grass and Summer–there is nothing quite like it as Thomas Stock (Ft. Plain 2014) describes in his mirthful haiku:

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

The arrival of Summer also means weekends are suddenly booked with music festivals, sporting activities, sun gazing and weddings!  Our featured poster from our 2004 Series notes this traditional season for wedding celebrations with a cleverly written haiku by Ralph Long, Jr. and a beautiful illustration by  Elizabeth Couturier, former Syracuse University Illustration student.

In a Rose Garden / at the top of Campus Hill / wedding dresses bloom

2004Long_Couturier

Of course, Summer’s arrival also means construction season is underway everywhere you turn. When artfully expressed in a haiku, such as this one by Dianne Apter (Syracuse 2015), delays don’t seem quite as dreadful:

Summer highway rite                                                                                                                             Orange cones stretched forever                                                                                                                   A sea of detours

How do you welcome Summer?  Write us a haiku in the Comments and we’ll publish it next time on our blog.

Happy Summer!

Introducing Our 2017 Poster Series

We are pleased to report that our 16th Annual unveiling event of the 2017 Syracuse Poster Project Series on April 14 was a great success!  

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Autumn Wilson, artist

 

Along with their families and friends, several of our featured poets, artists and students turned out for this yearly Spring celebration.              

With music by D.J. Bella, Jasmine Coan

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D.J. Bella –  Jasmine Coan

and tasty Hors-D’oeuvres by  Creole Soul Cafe, the evening moved smoothly from brief introductions by Jim Emmons (co-founder of the Syracuse Poster Project)  and John Thompson (Illustration Professor at Syracuse University) to the haiku readings and acknowledgements of the night’s Poets and Artists.  

 

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Jim Emmons with poet & SPP blogger, Rosalyn Carroll

Of course, the evening would not have been possible without the valued assistance of our enthusiastic interns and volunteers (click here to read more); our committed Board Members (click here to read more), 

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Joe Murphy, Board Member

or our dedicated Sponsors and Supporters (click here to read more)!  

Special thanks, also, to our evening’s photographers, Mindy Lee Tarry and Herm Card.  

 

Once again, the Atrium, at the City Hall Commons, proved to be the perfect spot to exhibit the kiosk-sized haiku posters.  The excitement upon entering through the Atrium doors was unmistakable!  

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Syracuse University Illustration Students

What a thrill to slowly walk down the exhibit hall, watching poets find their poster, listening to artists and poets meeting for the first time, mingling with the crowd and oohing and ahhing at every poster!  

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Cannon David, artist

On May 1, the new 2017 Series Posters were mounted in specially designated kiosks throughout the downtown Syracuse area.  

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2017 Haiku Poster on Display

They are also for sale on our web page.  In fact, check out our online store  here for all our haiku posters, cards, books and other Syracuse Poster Project paraphernalia.  

 

If you missed the fun–or just want to relive it–check out this video featuring our youngest poet, Kiru Morrissettewhose haiku was illustrated by Kelly O’Neill.  

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Kiru Morrisette, poet

You will find other short videos of the evening by clicking here!  A very special thank you to our volunteer, Priya Balaji, for catapulting us into new video territory with these wonderful shorts!

 

 

 

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Reading Haiku & Talking Art!

 

Go to our Facebook page to see other photos from the evening’s events!

 

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Abigail Lent, poet

 

 

 

 

Our thanks, again, to all who made this a very special evening of community, poetry and art!  

Haiku for a Slow Start to Spring

Pink clouds dot the sky                                                                                                                                                                            Black crows fly past crescent moon                                                                                                                                                       A change of weather

                                                                                     by Peter Allen (Syracuse 2013)


Whether or not you care much about the weather, it is one of the major topics of conversation anywhere, anytime, anyhow, no matter the day or the time of year.  It pretty much affects everything around us and everything we do.  We, at Syracuse Poster Project, would rightfully guess that we receive more haiku written about weather–like the fine poem above–than about any other subject!

Changes in the weather often signal a change in the season, too.  For instance, in Central New York today, while the calendar may say Spring, the weather these past few weeks has been mostly cold, dismally grey and, well…cold.  In fact, on St. Patrick’s Day–usually a fine day to celebrate the imminent arrival of Spring–there were snowbanks here that were as high as an elephant’s eye! The tulips and daffodils that had started to peek out from the cold March ground were quickly sent packing.  

Moving from March to April isn’t always easy or fast.  Thank goodness for Haiku to put this change of season into perspective!  Take, for example, this poignantly expressive haiku from frequent Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Jay Cox (Pompey, 2001):

Treetops’ sprawling arms                                                                                                                                                                        tremble, holding pale gray sky–                                                                                                                                                           snow patches linger.

Or, consider the perspective found in this uplifting haiku from Anton Ninno (Syracuse, 2008):

Last snow of the year                                                                                                                                                                                crashes down, heavy and wet                                                                                                                                                                 young buds shake it off

From Craig Overbeck, (Fayetteville, 2015), a stirring haiku with an artistic glimpse of what awaits us this Spring:

To the south, rain falls.                                                                                                                                                                  Gray brushstrokes sweep from dark clouds                                                                                                                                        To paint the hills green.

We think you’ll agree, this warm and delightful haiku by Rachel Guido deVries (Cazenovia, 2001) enriches any conversation about the weather or change of season.  Her words create a feeling beautifully captured in this poster from our 2015 Series by former Syracuse University Illustration student, Lise Sukhu.  To see more of Lise’s artwork, click here.

Dog sleeps safe from rain, / nestled in blankets, my feet / warm up, beneath her

2015Guido_de_Vries_Sukhu

Over the past several months we’ve highlighted many fine haiku written by our contributors about the weather and the change of seasons in Central New York.  Our accompanying featured posters beautifully underscore and accentuate the fine work we receive.  We hope you’ve enjoyed reading these poems as well as the few highlighted here today.  

And, remember, as we move from snow to rain this season, keep this cheerful haiku, written by Michelle Miles (Amman, Jordan 2016), in mind:

March into April,                                                                                                                                                                              Shed the outer cloak, breathe and                                                                                                                                                         Take the umbrella….

Until again, stay warm, stay dry! Happy Spring!

A Haiku for Black History Month

What began in 1926 as the brainchild of Carter G. Woodson’s Negro History Week, Black History Month was decreed a national observance in 1976 by then President Gerald Ford to honor and celebrate the many accomplishments and contributions of Black Americans throughout our history.  It was not lost on its tireless proponents that Black History Month be celebrated in February – the month in which two of the most iconic figures in the history of slavery in our country were born: Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

Although he settled in Rochester in 1847, Frederick Douglass made several trips to Syracuse between 1840 and 1870.  In August of 1850, he lectured on the evils of slavery during a stop at Syracuse City Hall — he was on his way to nearby Cazenovia for the Fugitive Slave Law Convention which he helped organize.  More information about his travels through Syracuse, as well as a look at a rare daguerreotype of Mr. Douglass during this time, can be found at the Onondaga Historical Association on Montgomery Street, Syracuse.

From our 2008 Series, our featured haiku poster is a fitting tribute to Frederick Douglass and Black History Month here at Syracuse Poster Project.  With Bryan Wilbur’s fine haiku as its centerpiece, the wonderful depiction of Frederick Douglass was illustrated by artist, David Hicock, a Syracuse University Instructor of Film in the Department of Transmedia and owner of Animotion, Inc.

Frederick Douglass / spoke as cheering thousands sang / under this same sky

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Hope you’ve enjoyed this brief connection between haiku, Syracuse and Black History Month!

Winter’s Grey Hue

The promised light of December’s Winter Solstice seems to have temporarily disappeared behind grey clouds this January in Central New York.  Along with cold temperatures, lingering patches of icy dirty snow have also made for some rather bleak days here.  But for the brief moments of morning sun, or the colorful flight of cheerful Cardinals and noisy Blue Jays, cloudy skies remain the dominant trademark of Winter in Syracuse.  While a backdrop of grey is not wholly unexpected this time of year, we certainly could use some clear, blue skies!

As you might expect, writing haiku brings a whole new perspective to cloudy and grey.  And, it’s a perfect antidote for cabin fever.  Digging through our archives of wonderful haiku contributed over the years by Central New York poets, we found a few which might give you pause to reflect before going completely stir-crazy!

Frequent Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Jay Cox (Pompey 2007), vividly taps into our search for blue skies while braving the cold on a wintry Syracuse day:

     Blue sky illusions                                                                                                                                                               scrape Winter’s gray haze—slogging                                                                                                                          numb down Salina

Pamela Lynch’s (Oneida 2013) graphic haiku brings an artist’s eye to this discussion of grey Winter skies which can indeed be quite stunning at times:

     Fronts collide to paint                                                                                                                                                       Phenomenal cloud skyscapes                                                                                                                                        Swirling overhead

From Elizabeth Patton (Elbridge), the ominous feeling of another impending storm is quite striking in this evocative 2005 haiku:

     Iron sky holding                                                                                                                                                                back the snow; the roar of rail                                                                                                                                       cars, then grave quiet

Frequent Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Janine DeBaise (Kirkville 2002) and Associate Professor of Printmaking at Syracuse University, Holly Greenberg, worked together to create this remarkable poster from our 2006 Series.  Clearly, you can find beauty on a stark Winter’s day.

Snow sweeps the sidewalk / Piles fluff onto bare branches / Turns gray to glisten

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Frequent Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Sherry Chayat (Syracuse), finds both beauty and a kind of acceptance of Winter’s hold on us with her captivating 2009 haiku:

     geese skim the river                                                                                                                                                          as clouds gather overhead                                                                                                                                              bittersweet season

Hope you’ve enjoyed these few samplings from our archives.  It’s wonderful how writing Haiku provides a way of expressing deep emotions and seeing nature from a variety of perspectives with just a few words.  So, when Winter’s grey is making you blue, write a Haiku!

It’s Winter…and, it’s Cold!

It’s only the first month of Winter, and already, it’s cold, grey and snowy!  But, inbetween thick bursts of Lake Effect snow, we’ve had occasion to soak in brief periods of sunshine.  Sometimes,  just seeing blue sky is enough to warm up and brighten one’s mood, but overall, it’s been just plain cold!  Living with snowy, cold Syracuse Winters has been the subject of numerous haiku contributed by Central New York poets.  We’ll try to warm you up with a few of them!  

Despite the cold, getting outdoors is one way to tackle Winter.  Can you picture yourself in Rachel Brown’s (Baldwinsville, 2008) fine haiku?

     I bundle up warm                                                                                                                                                              laced up tight, feet on the ice,                                                                                                                                        the cold air at me

As cold as it is, sometimes, just standing in the falling snow can be something wonderful. Syracuse poet, William Neumire’s (2012) haiku beautifully depicts such an occasion:

     Snow in lamplight stills                                                                                                                                                   the streets until we all stop                                                                                                                                            and reach out our hands

Our featured poster from our 2007 Series exemplifies ‘cold’ in its many forms.  By using the proximity of Clinton Square’s Ice Skating rink with Syracuse’s Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, Skaneateles poet and regular contributor to the Syracuse Poster Project, Mary L. Gardner, paints a vivid picture.  Former Syracuse University Illustration student, Chris Cascianonow a professional Illustration Artist, beautifully captures the essence of Mary’s words with his poster.

Sculpted heroes stand / guard on the icy square where / cold blades dart and glide

2007_gardner_casciano

Baldwinsville poet and frequent Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Martin Walls (2012), finds warmth in one of Winter’s many sounds:

     Snowflake settles on                                                                                                                                                         The skating rink with the sound                                                                                                                                    Of children laughing

And, Jay Cox’s (Pompey, 2001) haiku vividly describes a typical Winter’s day in Syracuse: 

     Skaters swirl around                                                                                                                                                         Clinton Square—Lake Effect snow                                                                                                                              blankets the city

Stay Warm!