Haiku for a Pandemic

Early April snow flurries are keeping many of us indoors this Spring. So has COVID-19. With “stay-at-home” and “social distancing” directives, the imposed quarantine on all but essential workers and businesses has created more than uncertainty and fear — it has created a new normal.

on empty roads at
rush hour, no ribbons of lights…
just the rising moon

by Rosalyn M. Carroll (Manlius 2020)

When news of the Coronavirus first came to us from China, followed by reports of its rapid spread through Italy and Europe, we were horrified by its crushing destruction of life.

A thief in the night,
Preying on vulnerables.
Who is this creature?

by Patricia Rickard (Syracuse, 2020)

As we were waiting for any good news about the virus slowing down overseas, the pandemic slammed our shores with a fury all its own. A number of stressful decisions had to be made rather quickly to meet the unknown ramifications of the virus. Spring vacations and long-awaited events were cancelled indefinitely; schools and universities suspended classes and scrambled to find a way to reach students online; grocery store shelves were stripped bare by anxious citizens; and small businesses were left stranded.

Syracusans pause —
Flightless birds upon a wire —
Waiting for the Spring

by Donald Sheridan (Syracuse, 2020)

Since the end of March, we’ve all worked hard to find new ways to go grocery shopping, conduct businesses, teach or work remotely, exercise, and stay connected. Zoom, FaceTime, WhatsApp and YouTube have become the go-to platforms for many of us to gather around.

University
Fair in our hearts and minds
Evermore, Zoom U

by Travis Hayden (Manlius, 2020)

And, while Spring hasn’t stopped blooming–despite the constant wind, rain and snow–neither has COVID-19 stopped the squirrels from playing tag or the birds from gathering at the birdfeeder! Nor has it kept us from creating, reflecting or finding new ways to connect with one another.

With free reign of house
and windowsills, indoor cats
know no quarantine

by Wendy E. Kaplan (Villas, N.J., 2020)

With Spring as the one constant we can depend on right now, our featured poster, from our 2019 Series, seems to fit these past few weeks of April, 2020 pretty well. The gorgeous illustration was created by Marianne Smith Dalton, a Fine Artist, Curator and Archivist whose other works can be found here. Thoughtfully written by frequent haiku contributor, Marilyn Shelton, her haiku reflection parallels our stay-at-home status and inspires us to be hopeful: “….To me, the Lily of the Valley is such a tiny thing to have strength, even when hibernating, to overcome harsh winters to be reborn….[and] holds the full sensual promise of the approaching Spring.”

Snow melts to lilies / Of the sweet valley, reborn / In sensuous spring

Among the many events cancelled this Spring is our annual Poster Series unveiling event. As much as we like the festive togetherness of this traditional treat, we’re doing our part to “flatten the curve” by hosting the event online. Please join us Thursday, April 23 at 6 p.m. for a virtual evening of fun on YouTube where our our newest haiku posters will be featured along with video clips submitted by the poets and artists talking about their work. There is also a chance for you to participate: during the premiere, you’ll be able to comment by chat and we’ll be able to chat back. The video and chat stream will then be archived on our YouTube channel where you can see it again and share with your family and friends. You can check out and subscribe to our channel here.

In the meantime, we hope you are taking some time for peaceful reflection, long invigorating walks and finding ways to take care of yourself emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and physically. Be sure to breathe in the beauty of Spring blooms and listen to the beautiful voices of nature all around us. Most importantly, have patience–we are, each of us, in this together.

Wishing you well — stay safe!

If you’d like to submit a haiku with your own reflections on COVID-19, please add them to the comments below or email them to us, c/o Jim Emmons at jim@posterproject.org.

Haiku for Valentine’s Day

Ambling with “the one”
my neighborhood is lovely
steal a quick kiss–now!

by David Pasinski (Fayetteville 2010)

Valentine’s Day! A day for stolen kisses, red roses and candy hearts, candle-lit dinners, whimsical cards and love poems. From our trove of wonderful haiku, we thought we’d come back to these very special Valentine Day haiku from our talented contributors:

From Meg Catanzarita, (Syracuse 2010), a whimsical haiku whose word-play has Valentine’s Day written all over it:

Alphabet clusters
beget confabulation
P.S., I Love You

Oubon Phommanyrath’s (Syracuse 2013) poem beautifully elicits love and transcends the ordinary:

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

Marilyn Shelton’s (Dunmore 2003) haiku sweetly catches a merry and colorful moment between two sweethearts:

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

Speaking of sweethearts, our featured haiku poster is from our 2009 Series. Brightly illustrated by former Syracuse University Illustration student, Emily Meluch, now an illustrator and designer living in Cleveland, Ohio, the haiku was written by frequent contributor, Janine DeBaise. Inspired by the many small coffeehouses and restaurants found here in Syracuse, Janine writes, ”I like the sounds in those places — the clinking of the plates and mugs, the swirl of chatter as friends gather over steaming cups of tea or coffee. I was thinking about the way people have to lean close in that setting, to hear each other’s voices. I like the intimacy of that gesture, being close in a room crowded with people.”

Amidst the chatter / and clink of white coffee mugs / I drink your voice in

Check out our other “love” themed haiku posters by clicking here.  If you haven’t picked up a Valentine’s Day card yet, create something original for your sweetheart by using one of our free, downloadable Valentine’s Day cards like this one from one of our graphic designers, Jiaqi Liu, a native of China, who exercised her dual language skills to come up with this cute Valentine’s Day card featuring a punning owl. “Punny”, isn’t it? 

Click here to download this colorful card!  Click here to see some of our other do-it-yourself Valentine’s Day cards! You add the words, we’ll do the rest!

Wherever love finds you on this Valentine’s Day, enjoy and live, laugh, love!

Trees roots growth love home
Sisters shouting in the yard
Laughing joyously

by Sylvia O’Connor (Manlius 2014)

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 Rainy Spring

To the chagrin of many, rain has predominated the weather this Spring. In fact, it’s hard to believe it’s mid-June already, what with Summer officially beginning in a few days! One has to ask, where, oh where, is the sun?

To cheer you up, we’ve dug out some haiku dedicated to Rain…yes, Rain…

From Jeanne Viggiano (Syracuse, 2009) comes a haiku which perfectly describes a rainy workday and the promise of a dry, sunny evening!

Rain pelts the sidewalks.
Lunch hour is a duck and dash.
Forecast: sun by five.

You’ve heard that phrase, “We need the rain”? Well, one benefit of all the rain this Spring has been the lush greens and gorgeous colors of its slow-blooming flowers. Renee-Noelle Felice (Syracuse 2011) says it well in her haiku:

After weeks of rain,
hollyhocks–deep pink and red–
big as salad plates

Have you ever just sat and listened to the rain falling? Frequent haiku contributor, Anne Mackenzie (Skaneateles, 2014), hears something beautiful:

woodland canopy
raindrops tap-dancing on leaves
ageless lullaby

Listening to the rain takes another shape in this delightful haiku by poet, Nicholas Petrone (Syracuse, 2010):

wooden boards beneath
Ruskin front porch rocker creak
steady rain keeps time

Our featured haiku poster is from our 2004 Series. The bright haiku was written by long-time contributor, Marilyn Shelton; the illustration colorfully created by former Syracuse University
student, Marlene Heuer.

silver drops of rain / suddenly, a bright garden / of umbrellas blooms

Of course, when all else fails, there’s nothing like getting your Gene Kelly on, like Rosalyn Carroll (Manlius, 2016) does in her haiku:

With a steady beat,
rain strikes my umbrella—I’m
dancin’ in the rain

Stay dry! And, as the old song goes, “let a smile be your umbrella”!

Posted by Rosalyn M. Carroll for the Syracuse Poster Project


Haiku For A Valentine

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Valentine’s Day–a sweetheart of a day, dedicated to the celebration of love! Symbolized by red hearts and roses, chocolate kisses and candle-lit dinners, whimsical cards and love poems, it’s one of our favorite days of the year!

Haiku being our forte, we’re often searching our archives for poems and haiku posters that perfectly fit an occasion or holiday. For this St. Valentine’s Day post, we come back to these wonderful haiku from our talented contributors.

Oubon Phommanyrath’s (Syracuse 2013) poem beautifully elicits love and transcends the ordinary:

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

From Meg Catanzarita, (Syracuse 2010), a whimsical haiku whose word-play has Valentine’s Day all over it:

Alphabet clusters
beget confabulation
PS I Love You

Frequent haiku contributor, Marilyn Shelton (Dunmore 2003) sweetly notes a merry and colorful moment between two sweethearts:

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

And, Sandra Hewett’s haiku (Syracuse 2014) sets the scene for a memorable Valentine’s Day dinner:

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

Speaking of love and romance, it might be frightfully cold outside, but our featured 2007 Syracuse Poster Project haiku poster is sure to warm you up on this St. Valentine’s Day. The poet is long-time Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Robert Gaurnier; the poster was illustrated by former Syracuse University Illustration student, Bret Supranowicz, now working as a designer and illustrator in New York City.

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

If you’re stuck for an idea for something special to give your sweetheart, feel free to download one of our specially commissioned St. Valentine’s Day cards here. As we have done in years past, each of our Valentine’s Day cards are created with a wonderful background and enough space to give you an opportunity to write your own love poem. Our 2019 card can be downloaded here. It was artfully designed by Jiaqi Liu, our Spring semester graphic design intern.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Rosalyn M. Carroll for Syracuse Poster Project

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

Rosalyn M. Carroll for Syracuse Poster Project

A Haiku for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day. Bouquets of flowers and blue, Forget-Me-Nots.  They seem synonymous, don’t they?

To celebrate this very special day, we searched our archive of haiku posters and found the wonderful gem below from our 2004 Series!  

Written by frequent Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Marilyn Shelton, the colorful poster was illustrated by former Syracuse University illustration student, Aja Gibson.

Corner vendor shouts / Flowers! Flowers! Flowers! Makes / City women smile

2004Shelton_Gibson

Happy Mother’s Day!

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)

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!

The March to Spring!

It’s been a chilly, rainy “March” to Spring this year.  Much different than what we experienced last year–a cold, snowy, and seemingly interminable journey!  But still, Spring has sprung at last, and when mornings awaken blue and bright, it’s as wonderful as this 2015 haiku by Syracuse Poster Project contributor Sean Conrey (Syracuse):

     A spring breeze still cold                                                                                                                                                   All nerves beneath the black oak                                                                                                                                    A new leaf unfurls

Depending on where you live, you may still have patches of snow on the ground.  But that hasn’t stopped the green shoots of tulips and daffodils from pushing their way up through the soggy Winter ground just as imaginatively described as in this 2012 haiku by Jane Woodman (Syracuse):

    Syracuse snow banks                                                                                                                                                          cover heat-seeking missiles                                                                                                                                             of Spring daffodils.

No doubt you’ve also seen colorful blooms of crocuses cropping up everywhere you turn.  More than Winter’s white and grey, these sweet hints of Spring colors to come is delightful–as is this 2011 haiku by Sam Donnelly (Syracuse):

    Blossoms in short shorts                                                                                                                                                   Sunbathing between snow banks,                                                                                                                                  Blooming in the thaw

…Or this 2014 haiku by Andrew Schep (Syracuse):

    forsythia arms                                                                                                                                                                     sleeved in little bursts of sun                                                                                                                                           shoveling the snow

While the earth is renewing itself, our fine-feathered friends are returning home, too.  Robins, of course, among the first signs Spring has arrived.  Surprisingly, even Gulls, as vividly described in this 2008 haiku by Alexa Carter (Fulton), herald hope:

    Gulls like drifts of snow                                                                                                                                      Gather on the shores in spring                                                                                                                         Harbingers of fun to come

One of our many favorite posters from the 2009 Syracuse Poster Project Collection, written by longtime Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Jay Cox and illustrated by teacher and former Syracuse University Illustration student, Devin Scannell aptly describes this taut time between Spring and the last of March snows.  

A blackbird sways on / a goldenrod stalk covered / with afternoon snow

34_05_2009Cox_Scannell

Finally, a fitting tribute to Spring by another of our haiku contributors, Marilyn Shelton (Dunmore, 2005):

    Snow melts to lilies                                                                                                                                                              Of the sweet valley, reborn                                                                                                                                              In sensuous spring

 
What is your favorite sign of Spring?