Bill Waters ~~ Haiku

Haiku + Tanka, Haibun, Rengay, Shahai, & More

Archive for the tag “poetry in public places”

New scrolls in the fairy houses

Last year, the mother / daughter duo Maternal Mitochondria created an installation of up-cycled metal fairy houses at the Santa Fe Skies RV Park. Inside each miniature dwelling was a little fairy poem on a beautifully wrought scroll that visitors could take out and read.

The installation was a success! In fact, people liked interacting with it so much that they left little tokens of their own: pebbles, pennies, painted rocks, and bits of their own art projects.

This year I was invited to provide the poems for the scrolls — an opportunity for which I’m very grateful, both as a poet and an advocate for poetry in public places.

The Cantina, day and night. Photo courtesy of Maternal Mitochondria.
Cantina poems on suminagashi paper.
Photo courtesy of Maternal Mitochondria.
The Mushroom, day and night. Photo courtesy of Maternal Mitochondria.
Mushroom poems on suminagashi paper.
Photo courtesy of Maternal Mitochondria.
The Cabin.
Photo courtesy of Maternal Mitochondria.
Cabin poems on suminagashi paper.
Photo courtesy of Maternal Mitochondria.

For information on the creative duo Maternal Mitochondria: maternalmitochondria.com/about/.

For information about Santa Fe Skies RV Park: santafeskiesrvpark.com/about/.

For information on the art of suminagashi: maternalmitochondria.com/2018/09/26/what-is-suminagashi/.

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National Poetry Month @ MCL

After a year’s delay due to COVID-19, ten of my micropoems have “blossomed” in the garden of the headquarters branch of New Jersey’s Mercer County Library System.

As local community members continue to look for novel things to do during the pandemic — and after? — maybe poem-spotting will become a “thing”! ;- )

Many thanks, MCL, for supporting public poetry! And a happy National Poetry Month to one and all!

The Mercer County Library headquarters branch, located in Lawrence, New Jersey. Photo by Bill Waters.
the hush / of an overcast day . . . / red tulips nodding
Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.
periwinkle butterflies / carving the heavy perfume / of honeysuckle
Photo courtesy of Julia Cuddahy, MCL reference librarian.
Photo by Bill Waters.
book-lover’s bedtime — / I mark my place / with a smaller book
Photo courtesy of Julia Cuddahy, MCL reference librarian.
birds on a phone line / some this way / some that way
Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.
hitchhiker: / this ladybug / on my hand
Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.
Photo by Bill Waters.
Photo courtesy of Julia Cuddahy, MCL reference librarian.
Photo by Bill Waters.
Such a beautiful day for taking pictures! :- D
Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.

For more information about the Mercer County Library System: https://mcl.org/branches/lawrence

For more information about the Poetry in Public Places Project: https://www.facebook.com/groups/PoetryInPublicPlacesProject

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The Amazing Pumpkin Carve 2020, part 2

Carloads of visitors file past 40 huge sculpted pumpkins.

Carloads of visitors file past 41 huge sculpted pumpkins at dusk at Woolsey Park, Hopewell Township, New Jersey. Photo courtesy of NJ.com.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade — or in the case of the 2020 Amazing Pumpkin Carve, turn a walk-around event into a drive-thru!  :- D

Public poetry had a place at The Amazing Pumpkin Carve again this year in the form of six “gravestones” I made, complete with epitaphs. Many thanks to the Hopewell Valley Arts Council for including them! They were placed near the entry of “Pumpkin Row” and looked appropriately spooky — especially at night.

A row of gravestone-shaped poem-signs.

Gravestone Row. Photo by Bill Waters.

(For a little information on how I made the poem-signs, you can go back in time a few days to The Amazing Pumpkin Carve 2020, part 1, if you wish.)

The gravestone of Simon Grimm.

Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.

The gravestone of Benjamin Jolly.

Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.

The gravestone of Ezekiel Green.

Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.

The gravestone of Nelson Burns.

Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.

The gravestone of Prudence Jones.

Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.

The gravestone of Agnes Olde-Yung.

Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.

After the gravestones came a haunted house,…

A haunted house facade.

Home NOT sweet home! Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.

…the “welcoming committee”,…

A tableau of friendly(?) skeletons.

Come on in! It’s a helluva show! Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.

…and then the pumpkins themselves! Here are just a few that caught my eye:

A sculpture called Pumpkin King, by Lori Johannson.

Pumpkin King, by Lori Johannson. Photo courtesy of NJ.com.

A pumpkin called The Moon, by Anne Nixon-Ellery.

The Moon, by Anne Nixon-Ellery. Photo courtesy of NJ.com.

A pumpkin called Epidemic, by MattDerby.

Epidemic, by Matt Derby. Photo by Bill Waters.

A pumpkin called Peering Pumpkin.

Peering Pumpkin, by Curtis May. Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.

Kudos to the Arts Council for bringing some outdoor fun to Central New Jersey during a year notable — alas! — for many cancelled cultural events! The final tally showed that more than 2,500 carloads of people viewed this amazing display!


Hopewell Valley Arts Council: https://www.hvartscouncil.org

Poetry in Public Places Project: https://www.facebook.com/groups/PoetryInPublicPlacesProject/

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Bones of the earth

The renowned Chicago Botanic Garden is composed of dozens of expansive gardens and sprawling natural areas.
 
[It] opened more than 45 years ago as a beautiful place to visit, and it has matured into one of the world’s great living museums and conservation science centers. Every year, more than one million people visit the Garden, [which is] uniquely situated on 385 acres on and around nine islands, with six miles of lake shoreline.
 
Currently on view in the Japanese-themed garden are 10 haiku-signs, and one of them contains a poem by me:
 
 
Poetry in a peaceful natural setting: a welcome respite from the worries of a trouble-laden year!  :- )
 

More about the Chicago Botanic Garden: https://www.chicagobotanic.org/info.

More about the Japanese-themed garden: https://www.chicagobotanic.org/gardens/japanese.

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The Amazing Pumpkin Carve 2020, part 1

Due to COVID-19, the Hopewell Valley Arts Council is presenting this year’s Amazing Pumpkin Carve — a fall festival in Central New Jersey featuring dozens of fanciful hundred-pound pumpkins — as a drive-thru. How clever is that?  :- D

Last year ten of my haiku and senryu provided a touch of public poetry on yard signs. This time around, I’ve created six oversized gravestone-shaped signs bearing epitaphs in the manner of days gone by. Here are photos of them that I took at home before bringing them to the fairground to be set up. I hope you enjoy them (if “enjoy” is the right word for gravestones… LOL!- ).

After writing the epitaphs, I designed the signs using online software at Staples.com and had them printed on 3′-by-2′ corrugated plastic.

Next, I trimmed the top of each sign into a gravestone-y shape with X-acto knives. (It wasn’t super-difficult, but it *was* time-consuming. LOL!- )

Finally, I took a printout of an image I found of a “flying skull” grave rubbing to a local Staples and had it laser-copied onto weatherproof vinyl label material. I cut out the stickers, applied them to the signs, and voila!

I guess I owe Staples — both online and bricks-and-mortar — a big debt of gratitude! ;- )


Hopewell Valley Arts Council: https://www.hvartscouncil.org

Poetry in Public Places Project: https://www.facebook.com/groups/PoetryInPublicPlacesProject/

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New Jersey Botanical Garden haiku installation 2020

Fragrance of Lilacs

My poem at the New Jersey Botanical Garden. Photo by Carol Palomba and (c) Haiku Poets of the Garden State.

Alas, the Haiku Poets of the Garden State’s installation at the New Jersey Botanical Garden for National Poetry Month ran for only a week before COVID-19 caused the grounds to be closed.

Still, one week is better than none! Plus, all 24 of the poems from the (preempted) month-long exhibition can be seen at the HPGS website: https://hpgs.weebly.com.

My poem, above, has been “planted” in the lilac garden, which will soon be in bloom. :- )

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The Amazing Pumpkin Carve 2019, part 2

Entrance to The Amazing Pumpkin Carve, at Woolsey Park, Hopewell Twp., New Jersey. Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.

Entrance to The Amazing Pumpkin Carve at Woolsey Park, Hopewell Township, New Jersey. Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.

The Amazing Pumpkin Carve, which I described in The Amazing Pumpkin Carve 2019, part 1, has come and gone. Omigosh, those huge sculpted pumpkins!  :- D

Mmm Brains, by Eric Schultz.

“Mmm Brains”, by Eric Schultz. Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.

It was an honor, indeed, to have had a small part in the success of this big annual event. The Hopewell Valley Arts Council, who ran it, generously allowed me to place ten of my micro-poem signs around the fairgrounds for the five-day duration of the fall festival’s run.

Here are some photos of my signs. I hope you enjoy them!

Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.

Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.

Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.

Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.

Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.

Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.

Photo by Bill Waters.

Photo by Bill Waters.

Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.

Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.

Photo by Bill Waters.

Photo by Bill Waters.

Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.

Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.

Photo by Bill Waters.

Photo by Bill Waters.

Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.

Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.

Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.

Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.

Poet Bill Waters enjoying a photo opp with . . . a ghost?!

Is that a ghost behind me?! Call the Ghostbusters!


Hopewell Valley Arts Council: https://www.hvartscouncil.org

Poetry in Public Places Project: https://www.facebook.com/groups/PoetryInPublicPlacesProject/

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The Amazing Pumpkin Carve 2019, part 1

Earlier this month, the Hopewell Valley Arts Council ran its 5th-annual Amazing Pumpkin Carve, a local fall festival in Central New Jersey featuring 40 massive pumpkins imaginatively sculpted and lit. These pumpkins truly looked amazing, by day . . .

Mmm Brains, by Eric Schultz. Photo courtesy of Nancy Waters.

Georgi’s Room, by Aleece Davis and Jill Thomas.

. . . and by night:

By Michael Davies. Photo courtesy of Mary Galioto.

By Patrick Pasquito. Photo courtesy of Mary Galioto.

New this year, the event also included a little poetry — or, to be precise, a lot of little poems. Dotting the fairgrounds on yard signs, ten of my haiku and senryu were on display for the enjoyment of visitors.

Here are the signs, without their stands. (Pumpkin-colored cat not included.)

Poem signs . . . and a cat!

Poem signs . . . and a cat!

If you’d like to see how the signs looked on site, please check out The Amazing Pumpkin Carve 2019, part 2.  ;- )


Hopewell Valley Arts Council: https://www.hvartscouncil.org

Poetry in Public Places Project: https://www.facebook.com/groups/PoetryInPublicPlacesProject/

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Tanka in a bottle

Yesterday — a sunny, warm Saturday in autumn — I installed my “tanka-in-a-bottle” project in a local woodland park! (If you’re thinking “Tanka… Wait. What?”, please see my post for July 25th. ;- )

In the end, I decided to not hang each little bottle from a tree branch, which was my original plan. Instead, I made a small sign (to be clear that they are free to take and are not contraband of some sort) and hung them all on a trail signpost. I’m hopeful that my installation will catch the eye of passersby, despite the distractions of smartphones and earbuds.

 

The materials in hand: tanka bottles, the sign, a piece of string, and two pushpins

The materials in hand: tanka bottles, the sign, a piece of string, and two pushpins.

 

Pinning up the sign

Pinning up the sign…

 

...hanging bottles on the string

…hanging the bottles on the string…

 

...and voila

…and voila!

 

Poet and Poems

Poet and poems.  :- )

 

Many thanks to U.K. poet Caroline Skanne for providing some tanka of her own to pair with mine!  _/|\_

I’ll go back to that signpost in a few days to see how my project is faring. I don’t expect much if any traffic this rainy Sunday, but the weather is predicted to brighten up in a day or two.

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“Tanka in a Bottle” at?…

Earlier this year I completed my first installation of Haiku in the Wild, two dozen wooden haiku mobiles hung on trees and shrubs at a Pennsylvania alpaca and llama farm. This was my first attempt to bring poetry into a (semi-)public place to intrigue people who are accustomed to seeing poems only in books. (For photos, you can check out my previous post “Haiku in the Wild” at Llamapaloosa 2017.)

In an effort to bring a little bit more poetry to people in public places, I’m currently working on what I call my Tanka in a Bottle project. Each little bottle will contain a pair of tanka — one by me, and one by my friend and talented U.K. poet Caroline Skanne — and a blurb about the Poetry in Public Places Project, a Facebook / real-world group I started in 2016 to create and promote poetry placed in urban and natural landscapes. In total, each batch of 10 bottles will showcase 20 different tanka.

Here’s what these tanka bottles look like:

Tanka in a Bottle (Prototype 2): Components

Tanka in a Bottle (prototype 2): components.

Tanka in a Bottle (Prototype 2): Assembled

Tanka in a Bottle (prototype 2): assembled.

I’m thinking of hanging these bottles in trees at a local park for people to discover and take with them. (Will they be noticeable enough? Will they withstand wind and weather? Will wildlife disturb them?)

Where else should I place “bottled tanka”? I’d love to hear your thoughts!  :- D


The multitalented Caroline Skanne is a poet (@CarolineSkanne), the founding editor of Hedgerow: A Journal of Small Poems (@hedgerowpoems & hedgerowpoems.wordpress.com), and the founding publisher of Wildflower Poetry Press (@wildflowerpoemswildflowerpoetrypress.wordpress.com).

To learn more about the Poetry in Public Places Project, please stop by www.facebook.com/groups/PoetryInPublicPlacesProject/.

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