The curious case of the campus haikus

Students, faculty, and staff no longer have to wonder who has been behind the chalk haikus on campus

By Jordan Lewis
Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong
While walking around campus last week, students may have noticed some chalk poems scattered about. While some probably didn’t give the poems much thought, for many the chalked words were a delightful mystery.
Even with the recent snowfall, some of these poems can still be found.
The poems were a project for the English 461 class, Advanced Creative Writing Workshop, which is taught by Associate Professor of English Emily Wall.
“The topic of this semester is ‘form poetry’ so we’ve been experimenting with different poetry forms. This week we’re studying haiku form,” said Wall.
“We thought it would be fun to slip poems into daily life of those working and studying at UAS.”
According to Haiku Journal, there are many variations of haiku.
However, all haiku are small poems. Some forms count syllables, others don’t. Some are written in variations of longer and shorter lines while others are simply limited by the overall number of syllables.
Inspiration for the poems found all over campus w drawn partly from meditation.
“Haiku can be a form of meditation. It can create these still, small moments of beauty and focus for the writer and the reader,” Wall said.
For those wondering who wrote the poems by the door to the first floor as well as the post in the entryway of Egan, it was UAS student Alyssa Fischer-Abrams.
“Usually traditional haikus reference the season, but as a poet you’re allowed to sometimes break the rules. For my haikus, I took inspiration from my personal life and nature,” said Abrams.
Additionally, Wall believed that the poems would be a fun way to welcome former Alaska State Writer John Straley, who came to visit campus on Nov. 9.
Former Writer Laureate Straley was appointed in 2006, and has recently published a new book of haikus which served as part of the motivation for the poems found around campus.
If students want to see more work done by the students of the English 461, they can view collage poems that have been made by the class over in the Sobeloff building.

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