haiku update

February 22, 2016

Jenny Holzer - Meijer Gardens

With National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo) well under way, it seems a good time for an update…

In the “poetry walk” and “poetry map” category, we’d have to add the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The 158-acre sculpture and botanic garden includes the newly-opened Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden. Designed by Hoichi Kurisu and the firm Kurisu International (who also designed the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon), the DeVos Garden includes “For the Garden,” a commissioned work by the artist Jenny Holzer. Thirteen hand-carved boulders display text that Holzer selected from across the distinguished traditions of Japanese literature from the 9th century to the 20th. To see more, visit the garden (!) or go to Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden, click on Highlights, then For the Garden, and scroll down for a description and link to a downloadable PDF with photos and poetry credits.

Our next haiku update is a reminder that The Ferndale Arts Commission invites Whatcom County Poets to submit cherry blossom-themed haiku in celebration of this year’s Ferndale Cherry Blossom Festival (April 16 & 17, 2016). Each poet may submit two unpublished haiku poems. There are Youth and Adult categories and the winning haiku will be selected by Michael Dylan Welch. The submission deadline is Monday, March 14, 2016. For guidelines, see Call To All Whatcom County Poets and find the submission form on The Ferndale Cherry Blossom Festival page. For inspiration, see “Some Suggestions for Writing Haiku” on the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational page.

And speaking of the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, the 2016 Haiku Invitational will begin accepting haiku submissions (up to two unpublished poems) from around the world beginning March 1, 2016. The theme is celebration. Watch the Haiku Invitational page for information on how to submit.

Finally, we circle back to NaHaiWriMo. To encourage you to meet the goal of writing a haiku each day of February (29 in 2016!), NaHaiWriMo’s Michael Dylan Welch offers a daily prompt (Z-words!) on the NaHaiWriMo Facebook page. Actually, the daily prompts continue throughout the year, with a guest prompter each month. You can see the collected prompts in the Notes section of the NaHaiWriMo page.
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image from “For the Garden” by Jenny Holzer. Words by Mitsuhashi Takajo, translation by Makoto Ueda, © 2003 by Columbia University Press, from Far Beyond the Field: Haiku by Japanese Women, edited by Makoto Ueda.

poetry touring

February 21, 2016

Nanaimo Poetry Map

There are many ways to experience a place. The city of Nanaimo, BC, Canada, on Vancouver Island, has a new one: the Nanaimo Poetry Map. Spearheaded by Nanaimo’s First Poet Laureate, Naomi Beth Wakan, the project invited Nanaimo poets to submit “works that are in some way related to a particular point on the map or site in Nanaimo. The poems are not intended to be descriptions of places rather they are impressions of them.”

The resulting map was launched in January and the Nanaimo Poetry Map is now available online. Clicking on a location takes you to a brief description and a downloadable PDF of the poem. Take a tour of Nanaimo!

Haiku walk

Haiku walk If Millersburg, in northeast Ohio, is not at the top of your destination list, its new haiku poetry walk should help it find a place on your poetry map and make it worth a detour from Columbus or Akron. Located on forested land in the heart of Ohio Amish Country between Millersburg and Berlin, The Inn at Honey Run this month welcomed visitors to the first installation in the Holmes County Open Air Art Museum.

The Haiku Path winds through the forest, its route marked by 30 boulders, the boulders each bearing a pair of metal gingko leaves. The leaves are inscribed with haiku written specifically for the site by members of the Haiku Society of America. The verse appears on one leaf in English and on the other in Latin-scripted Japanese.

The project was coordinated by the Inn’s owner, Jason Nies, and HSA Midwest Regional Coordinator, Julie Warther. Although the Open Air Art Museum is on Inn property, it is open both to guests and the public and will, in the coming years, grow to embrace Nies’s vision of a true outdoor museum, with installations of artwork in various media as well as performance events.
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photos by Christopher Patchel
haiku by Joe McKeon
thanks to Michael Dylan Welch for the heads-up

enduring in Berkeley

July 16, 2015

John Northmore Roberts & Associates

One of the recurring topics on the Boynton Blog is poetry walks. An article in this week’s Berkeleyside offers an instructive look back at the inspiration and installation of the Addison Street Poetry Walk (123 cast iron plates with porcelain enamel text) in Berkeley, California.

The revitalization of downtown Berkeley was a collaborative effort involving multiple individuals and agencies, including Robert Hass, who selected the poems, and landscape design by John Northmore Roberts & Associates. The project was initiated in the 1990s and completed in 2003. In 2004, it was named a National Poetry Landmark by The Academy of American Poets.

Put it on your poetry map and go see it!
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photo: John Northmore Roberts & Associates

Poets’ Corner

June 19, 2015

Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey

Here’s another entry for your poetry travel files.

Should you find yourself in London, England, visiting Westminster Abbey, take some time to explore Poets’ Corner. Surrounded by medieval carvings and stained glass windows, Poets’ Corner is in the South Transept. There you’ll find monuments and plaques marking the burial or commemoration of writers, playwrights and poets dating from Chaucer to the present day. Ted Hughes was the last to be so honored, in 2011, and Westminster Abbey has just announced that a floor stone will be dedicated to Philip Larkin on December 2, 2016, the anniversary of Larkin’s death. For more information on Poets’ Corner and a list of memorials, visit the Westminster Abbey website.

Toronto Poetry Map

Along with Tacoma and Portland and Denver and New York’s East Village, the city of Toronto now has a Poetry Map. The Toronto Public Library project, assembled with the guidance of Toronto poet laureate George Elliott Clarke, currently includes around 200 site-specific poems. Click on the location and you get a poem excerpt (sometimes more than one) along with a link to the Library’s book from which the poem is taken. An ongoing effort, the Toronto Poetry Map continues to take suggestions for new poems to add to the map.

Denver Poetry Map

Whether they evoke an atmosphere, an event or a memory, many poems are place-centric enough to be pinpointed on a map. Thanks to poet Aaron Angello, the city of Denver now has a poetry map, which is continuing to grow as more poems are added to it. Learn more about the Denver Poetry Map and read an article from Colorado Public Radio that includes audio files of poets reading their mapped poems.

Does your community have a poetry map?

Reasons to go to… Scotland

February 24, 2015

StAnza Poetry 2015

There are surely many reasons to go to Scotland. Here are a couple.

Should you find your calendar clear next week, hie thee over to St Andrews, Fife, for the 18th annual StAnza International Poetry Festival, which runs March 4-8, 2015 (with additional workshops on March 3). Each StAnza is organized around two themes; this year’s themes are Unfinished Business and An Archipelago of Poetry. The lineup of poets is impressive and sure to be inspiring. Much more information is available on the StAnza website.

If dashing off to Scotland next week isn’t on your agenda, don’t despair. There is hardly a square kilometer of Scottish soil that hasn’t been commemorated in poetry…and it is all being mapped! The Scotland Poetry Map (a project of StAnza 2014) is a geographic guide to the poetic voice of Scotland. Take it along on your next trip. See it on the StAnza Blog.

More StAnza Poetry on Facebook.

poetry ride…

July 27, 2013

Tucson Modern Streetcar Maintenance and Storage Facility

Sometimes poetry is an afterthought (or not a thought at all), but the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar Project, currently under construction and this week celebrating the final weld in its rail line, is thinking ahead. With the support of the University of Arizona Poetry Center, the completed transit system will include “custom LCD poetry ‘reader boards’ at nine of the 17 streetcar stops,” according to the Arizona Daily Wildcat. Good work, Tucson.

Follow the progress on the Tucson Modern Streetcar Facebook page.
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Photo: The first piece of public art, by Simon Donovan and Ben Olmstead, installed at the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar Maintenance and Storage Facility.

today is…

March 21, 2013

World Poetry Day

Read about UNESCO World Poetry Day.

See some World Poetry Day messages from previous years.

And here’s yet more from UNESCO, including a list of celebrated poets and some poems for peace.

Go watch some poetry.

Add a poem to the Poetry Map.

Write a poem.

Happy World Poetry Day.