Haiku For Syracuse

On Memorial Day, freedom is one of many blessings we celebrate.  As a special day of remembrance, Memorial Day is also a reminder of the costs of freedom–including the costs to those we continue to protect against tyranny.  As they make the oft-times wrenching decision to leave their homeland behind, people from around the globe who flee war, political oppression and poverty, hope that freedom, safety and a better life will one day be theirs.

One of the main themes of this year‘s Syracuse Poster Project Series was that of Syracuse as a City of Welcome–for the hundreds of refugees and immigrants who set sail for the United States, many land here in Central New York!  Two artists, Nicora Gangi and Nada Odeh, were commissioned by the Poster Project to illustrate this theme.  Local poets were given the opportunity to write and submit haiku inspired by the beautiful images displayed in the two posters.  As you can see below, the haiku chosen for these two posters–one by long time Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Vinh Dang and the other, by poet, Jean Fahey–were splendid.

At the April unveiling, which happened to fall as it always does during National Poetry Month, artist, Nada Odeh, spoke of what inspired her to create her illustration and why she chose Vinh Dang’s haiku: “…. The boat image in my poster represents the crisis of the refugees seeking hope and a safe place to stay. It portrays a strong visual and overwhelming emotions while questioning how these people had to go through such harsh living conditions in their native countries. They are seeking refuge in another country and hoping to be welcome regardless of their origin or political status. The reason why I chose this haiku is because it speaks for me in a simple way and reminds me of how I feel about living in Syracuse.”  

Poet, Vinh Dang, a quiet spoken gentleman, recalled his own journey from Vietnam to America and the challenges of  building a new home in Syracuse while still keeping memories of his homeland close to his heart.  2018Dang_OdehHis haiku was inspired by these memories, as he stated, “…But what most inspired me was the greyish blue smoke flowing out of each family’s thatched roof, where mothers and wives were cooking the evening meal, promising a sweet reunion of the whole family under an oil lamp.”

 

White clouds drifting where? Over ocean or dark wood. Homeland hearth–blue smoke

 

Artist, Nicora Gangi, was unable to attend the event’s festivities, but she writes about her work, “…. I envisioned a round table positioned at the center to illustrate symbolically a place where a culture meal is shared, one’s national stories can be told, and events past, present or future can be discussed. A variety of written languages decorated the borders of the image to refer to the nations. There is a Syracuse city skyline in the background to convey that the city is here to welcome all nations from around the globe.”  

Ms. Gangi’s illustration spoke to Jean Fahey’s pride in Syracuse as a Sanctuary City.  She writes, “…We are their beacon of hope, the promise for a better tomorrow. 2018Fahey_GangiOur city was named for a beautiful city in Sicily by people who fled there to start a new life; for freedom and a chance to be anything they want to become. Since then, other people from different countries have fled here for different reasons but seeking the same dream. We are their light in the darkness. We are their new home.”

 

A beacon of hope, city of welcoming arms–a place to call home

 

You can find photos from the April unveiling event, here.  Please be sure to check out the other beautiful and inspired posters from the 2018 Series, here, or in designated kiosks throughout downtown Syracuse.  And, don’t forget, if you love these posters, you can always purchase them at our online shop, here!

So, if you are new to these pages or to our fair city of Syracuse…Welcome!

This is your home,                                                                                                                                          you whisper in my ear.  Here is                                                                                                                      where your roots will grow.                                                                                                                                                              By Karen Krull Robart

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It’s Our Annual April Event!

2002Stebbins & Theiller
Suddenly flowered
dresses everywhere. Hurray!
The snow has melted!

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On Thursday, April 19, please join us in celebrating the unveiling of our 2018 Syracuse Poster Project Series!  Beginning at at 6 p.m., you’ll find us in our usual spot in the City Hall Commons Atrium, located at 201 E. Washington St., Syracuse. Wondering how to find City Hall Commons? Here’s the map.

The 2018 Series includes 14 posters created the traditional way–poster illustrations created by Syracuse University students and inspired by haiku written by Central New York poets.  This year, students had 483 haiku to choose from: we had submissions from 81 returning participants and 56 new participants. With each participant submitting up to three haiku, we received a total of 251 new haiku. We then added haiku still active in our archives for a total of 1,101 active haiku, and then selected one haiku from each poet to pass along to the student artists.  Many of the haiku selected by students for the 2018 Series were written by new participants!

In addition, we commissioned two specially themed posters this year, and invited poets to write haiku to complement the theme: Syracuse as a place of welcome to all people and cultures.  We received 64 haiku submissions in response to the beautiful poster created by Nicora Gangi and chose a haiku by Jean Fahey to complement it.  For the other poster, beautifully illustrated by Nada Odeh, a haiku by frequent Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Vinh Dang, was selected by the artist.

On Thursday evening, along with congratulating our 16 poets and artists, Darren Chavis, of Creole Soul Cafe, will be serving up some vegetarian jambalaya, blackened sausage, and creole chicken to munch on. We’ll also have tasty contributions from The Sweet Praxis and Wegman’s.  Adding to the overall vibe of our festivities will be D.J. Bella, also known as Jasmine Coan, a LeMoyne College graduate who earned her D.J. credentials at Scratch Academy.

So, please do join us on Thursday evening, in Congratulating the 2018 Poet – Artist Pairs:


Omanii Abdullah (Syracuse) and Claudia Lewis
Travis Bartlett (Brewerton) and Alena Sceusa
James Bush (Skaneateles) and Ariel Dinero
Rosalyn Carroll (Manlius) and Mya Parker
Sean Conrey (Syracuse) and Jake Penman
Vinh Dang (Syracuse) and Nada Odeh
Jack Davis (North Syracuse) and Eduardo Figueroa
Terry Eckert (Syracuse) and Kim Truong
Jean Fahey (Syracuse) and Nicora Gangi
Laura Feldman (Jamesville) and Anna Schwartz
Mary Huling (Baldwinsville) and Elise Beauchamp
Dennis Kinsey (Syracuse) and Jake Navarro
Mary Ann Laidlaw (Syracuse) and Zoe Karikas
Sara Marsh (Syracuse) and Victoria Thomas
Devon Moore (Syracuse) and Shawna Stevenson
Lorraine Piazza (Syracuse) and Bernardo Rodriguez

The evening promises to be a great opportunity to see all the new posters in one spot, meet the poets and artists, and mingle with friends of poetry and public art.  So, dress up, come out, and party with the rest of our poster peeps!

See you there!

The Syracuse Poster Project

Our featured poster above is from our 2002 Series with a cheerfully Spring illustration and haiku by Jennifer Theiller and Mary Taitt, respectively!