Haiku For Spring 2020

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Spring arrived early
splashing against my window
dreams interrupted

by Lynn McDonald (Ogden 2004)

Spring officially arrived this past week. So did COVID-19. And with it, a new normal has taken over everywhere with schools and businesses closing, social distancing, working remotely while sequestered to our homes in self-quarantine. A troubling disruption, with its own uncertainties, to say the least.

Spring snow–heavy, wet
downing tree limbs, power lines,
darkening our hearts

by Robert Stone (Baldwinsville 2015)

At this point, it might be hard to imagine how reading or writing haiku might make a difference to what’s going on. Reading poetry, prose, or even a good book, offers an escape from our daily worries as well as a chance to see new perspectives outside ourselves. Besides making us feel better, writing–whether you’re writing poetry, prose or journaling–can give us a sense of control and purpose and can help us make sense of difficult times. Writing also offers us an opportunity to reflect on all the things we love. It’s a place where we can freely express our thoughts and feelings, observations and experiences.

Red brick, gray concrete
plant pushes up through the gap
life blooms overnight

by Peter Allen (Syracuse 2016)

Our featured haiku poster is from our 2018 Series. A wonderful reflection of Spring, Sean Conrey (Syracuse 2015) crafted his noteworthy haiku while observing: “We’re always waiting for that moment for spring to begin; a leaf coming out, one little bud, it’s going to happen at some point.” Beautifully illustrated by former Syracuse University Illustration student, Jake Penman, who chose this haiku “…. because I feel like it speaks to the kind of person I am, or at least the kind of tonality that I like to illustrate in my work. I really enjoy drawing trees, life, and images of nature. A lot of the work I do is in pen and ink, and a lot of natural structures—branches, roots, and trunks—do very well in pen and ink. I feel like the complexity of the roots is visually similar to cardiac vessels or streams running through hills. It’s just the way the line moves between, like if you’re following a river downstream, or if you’re following a tree branch from a trunk’s base—it’s very similar. Whatever is causing that similarity is what I try to get at, not just visually, but emotionally.”

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

We hope these few reflections on the arrival of Spring have cheered you and given you some food for thought. Unlike the unsettling throes of a pandemic, Spring is certainly one constant we can depend on year in and year out. The interesting thing is, what kind of Spring will it be?

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

by Michelle M. Miles (Israel 2016)

Wishing you well — stay safe!

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Haiku For March Madness

Here at the Syracuse Poster Project, a lot of haiku submitted and contributed by our fine poets, highlight observations and sensory experiences found in the world around us. Topics run the gamut, from Mother Nature to our love of music, holiday celebrations and even sporting events!

To celebrate March Madness — the kind of madness when hoops, top seeds, Selection Sunday, brackets and hopeful Cinderella’s, take on a life of their own — we’ve opened up our archives to some fun haiku with an eye on Basketball!

Spoiler Alert: What with Syracuse University in our front yard, many of the haiku presented below highlight the Syracuse Orange games held at the Dome on the SU Hill.

In that airy Dome
orange knights vow grand conquest
Big East battleground!

by Robert Stone (Baldwinsville, 2008)

The stakes are rising,
screams echoing through the Dome,
the shot’s up, it’s in!

by Nolen Brann (Jamesville, 2018)

Hoops hysteria
basketball stars down the court
Orange Carrier

by Jennifer Fulco (Syracuse, 2012)

Our featured haiku poster is from our 2008 Series. The colorful haiku was written by poet, Pat Flowers and beautifully illustrated by former Syracuse University Illustration student, Gabe Eng-Goetz, now working as a professional artist and designer; he is also the founder of Runaway.

Fenced in glory hoops / leap in air toward heaven / endless chatter scores

From the 68 teams selected from across the country, to the Sweet Sixteen, to the Elite Eight, and down to the Final Four, March Madness is certainly an exciting tradition to welcome Spring!

The town with the MOST
We play basketball and boast
On streets we all coast

by Nick Ghezzi (Canastota, 2011)

Posted by Rosalyn M. Carroll for the Syracuse Poster Project

You’re Invited!

You’re invited to the 16th Annual Syracuse Poster Project unveiling event of our 2017 series!  Mark your calendar for Friday evening, April 14 from 6 – 8 p.m.  We’ll be celebrating in the Atrium at City Hall Commons, 201 East Washington Street, Syracuse.   

Atrium 2016 Unveiling

Need a reason to dress up? Come and meet the poets and artists of this year’s poster series! Along with friends, family and other supporters of public art, please enjoy with us a light reception of hors d’oeuvres, drink and music!

To add to the merriment, sit and listen as our featured poster poets read their haiku.  Unveiling, 2016, Tarry (84)

And, of course, our wonderful new posters will be displayed along the glass walls of the Atrium!  

Prints of the new posters, as well as other items from Syracuse Poster Project, will be on sale during the event.  (Click here to view our online Shop.)  Unveiling, 2016, Tarry (33)

Our congratulations again to the 16 poets and Syracuse University Illustration students (respectively) who are featured in our 2017 poster series: Rosalyn Carroll / Bobby Davison; Chen Chen / Carly Wright; Sheila Forsyth / Cannon David; Ross Getman / Tong “Amy” Su; Linda Griggs / Tatiana Diaz; Abigail Lent / Mack Muller; Peggy Liuzzi / Geani Sanabria; Tara Miner / Lara Hirschberg; Kiru Morrissette / Kelly O’Neill; William Padgett / Autumn Wilson; Nicholas Petrone / Marisa Rother; Tanya Raymond / Lara Hirschberg; Erin Stepowany / Laura Mead; Susan Stiles / Amber Roach; Robert Stone / Monica S. Rexach Ortiz; and Elizabeth Westfall / Gabriella Silverstein

These featured poets can thank a combination of skill and luck for rising to the top, given the large number of participants again this year.   A striking total of 125 poets submitted 260 fresh haiku.  We added these to 717 active haiku from past entries, then selected one haiku from each poet to pass along for consideration by the student artists.  Bottom line: as a group, Syracuse University artists had a total of 414 haiku to consider!

Unveiling, 2016, Card (7)

Our student artists created 24 posters, from which 16 were selected.  The selection committee consisted of Laurie Reed and Bethany Holbrook, of the Downtown Committee; Professors John Thompson and Marty Blake, of the Syracuse University Illustration Program; and Jason Evans and Jim Emmons, board members of the Syracuse Poster Project.

We hope you’ll be able to join us and we look forward to seeing you on Friday evening! But, if you should happen to miss the evening’s festivities,Kiosks_2016_82B Kiosks_32be sure to look for this year’s posters in the kiosks dotting downtown Syracuse. They’re expected to be on view by May 1.