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!


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.

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


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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Haiku to Warm Up January

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

Typical of January, it’s been cold and snowy–and everything else inbetween–as mischievously described in Matt Tompkins’ (Owego 2013) haiku above. Dark frigid nights seem to last forever this time of year, too, though daylight is (thankfully) lasting longer. Haiku has the perfect ability to express these Winter days in such a way that you can nearly forget it’s January…well, almost! Try warming up with these few other 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 this colorful haiku, poet Lee Savidge (Liverpool 2013) sets a sensory mood for a day 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) haiku beautifully describes a different kind of sensory experience only known during the long Winter months:

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

Like skiing, if you have ever snowshoed, you know you’ve left an indelible path on your journey. If it should snow overnight, you might have trouble finding that path again in the morning. But on a clear, moonlit night, you might not have any problem at all–as cleverly described in Joan Cofrancesco’s haiku (Camillus 2001):

moon looms over pines
along the Beaver Lake trail
snowshoes left behind

Reminiscent of the first ‘no school day’ of January, our featured haiku poster is from our 2014 Series. The haiku, with the wonderful play on words, was written by Dianne Emmick and richly illustrated by former Syracuse University student, Ash Merkel, now a working artist whose fine illustrations, sketches and ceramic work can be found here.

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


Speaking of ‘snow days’ have you noticed the neighborhood kids with their 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!

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!  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

Stay Warm!

Rosalyn M. Carroll for the Syracuse Poster Project

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


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


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!

Celebrating Black History Month With Haiku

February may be the iconic month of Winter Celebrations. There’s Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday, the first lunar day of the Chinese New Year, and Winterfest.  February is also Black History Month.  

We are celebrating Black History Month with two haiku posters from our 2008 Collection. Both haiku, at once, powerful and beautiful, were written by Syracuse poet and educator, Omanii Abdullah.  One poster was illustrated by Dusty Herbig, a Syracuse University Associate Professor; the other by Rod Martinez, also a Syracuse University Associate Professor.  Both posters can be found on and purchased from our Shop page.

I am from the hood / The hood did not enslave me / I am my master   15_02-Abdullah-&-Herbig

I have no boundaries / In this city of my birth / I, too, roam freely


It may surprise you to learn that the celebrated American author, Richard Wright (1908 – 1960), also wrote haiku – thousands of them!  Better known for his novels, (Native Son, Uncle Tom’s Children), short stories and non-fiction (Black Boy), his haiku were written between 1959 and 1960 – the last year of his relatively short life.   A collection of his haiku was first published in 1998 as Haiku: This Other World and again in 2012 as Haiku: The Last Poetry of Richard Wright.  We’ve chosen a few of these beautiful pieces to share with you. We think you’ll agree, they aptly celebrate both Winter and February!

  Standing in the field                                                                                                                                                       I hear the whispering of                                                                                                                                                 Snowflake to snowflake


   In the falling snow                                                                                                                                                            A laughing boy holds out his palms                                                                                                                            Until they are white.


  From across the lake,                                                                                                                                                     Past the black winter trees,                                                                                                                                         Faint sounds of a flute.


   Standing patiently,                                                                                                                                                          The horse grants the snowflakes                                                                                                                                  A home on his back.


Do you have a favorite haiku by Richard Wright?  Send us your comments, we’d love to hear from you!



It’s Winter – isn’t it?

Well, it’s officially Winter – or so the calendar says.  The Season of Light, the Winter Solstice, New Year’s Eve – all behind us now.  But for the balmy 50 degrees weather we’ve been having on and off since Thanksgiving, you wouldn’t know that it is January in Central New York.  So, where’s Winter?

Equating snow with Winter – as most of us do in CNY – frequent Syracuse Poster Project haiku contributor, Gary Weinstein (Syracuse NY), mused this question in 2004:

Strange…I miss the snow.                                                                                                                           The endless blanket that tucks                                                                                                                             us in all winter.

From the sound of the howling wind tonight, one can only imagine Winter as we know it will soon be here.  Scott Austin (Brooklyn NY) anticipated Winter with his 2011 haiku:

Listen to the wind                                                                                                                                            And you can hear snow approach                                                                                                                       Moments before flakes

CNY’s first major snowstorm of the 2016 season, (post New Year’s Eve weekend), has already been washed away by warm weather, high winds and lots of rain after only a few days on the ground.  Tom Westpfal, (Fayetteville NY), captures this somewhat muddled Winter we’re having in his 2013 Syracuse Poster Project haiku contribution:

Grass poking through snow                                                                                                                           Has winter just ended—nope                                                                                                                                It has just begun

Thankfully, it doesn’t seem we will be having the long, bitter cold Winter we did last year – or like folks are now having in the Midwest.  Regardless, this beautifully illustrated 2005 Syracuse Poster Project haiku poster – written by Ellen Agnew and illustrated by former SU Illustration student, Ivy Hickam – sums up the ‘warm’ side of Winter.

Nature's gift of snow allows us to slow our pace, take time to reflect
Nature’s gift of snow, allows us to slow our pace,  take time to reflect


Here’s to Winter and a Happy New Year!