Sunday, January 16, 2000

Poet putting haiku all over the town

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The road matters not//potholes don't discriminate//where they make their home.

        It's a January haiku (a poem in three lines, 17 syllables, treating an aspect of nature and human life) by Timothy Riordan, and it's in store windows around town all month.

        “It's blue lettering on a black board,” the poet says. “Black and blue — it seems kind of appropriate for January...” (One more syllable and that could be a haiku.)

        Mr. Riordan's “Urban Haiku” project has been going on since October and continues through March with poetry changing every month in almost three dozen local storefronts from Camp Washington to Paddock Hills to Pleasant Ridge.

        “There are so few ways to get poetry into the public realm in a visual sense,” he sighs. He decided it would be fun to see if it could be done.

        He thought of haiku because “it's just the right size. It's quick and easy to read — very adaptable to city life — and isn't a directive or a command or trying to sell you something. That's very unexpected.”

        Mr. Riordan says he'll be satisfied if people pause and wonder “what's going on here?” If they do, the sign will have done its job.


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