About Bikeway Haiku

About Bikeway Haiku

25th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION:  Saturday, September 29

Arlington Public Art and the bike committees of Arlington, Lexington and Bedford are collaborating to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Minuteman Bikeway with 10 miles of haiku poetry created by our diverse communities and stenciled onto the pavement.

In your own voice, sing
of squirrels, frogs, birds, bikes and
light dancing on leaves!

Welcome these haikus
On our beloved bikeway.
Let's call them "baikus."

On Saturday, September 29 from 11 to 3 pm the three towns will host a day of celebration with live music, art. and the launch of Bikeway Haiku.  Join Arlington Public Art for a HAIKU HANGOUT on Uncle Sam Plaza on the Bikeway in Arlington Center!  Our friends at Cambridge Typewriter are bringing vintage machines so you can write new poems. We'll have an open mic to read your haiku, and poets Jessie Brown, Charles Coe, Cathie Desjardins and Gloria Mindock will be hanging out to give advice and tips.  Meet project organizers Cecily Miller, Liz LaManche and Lorri Berenberg and give us a high five! 

Live music will be going on in three performance areas on the Bikeway:  Spy Pond Park, Aeronaut Arlington Beer Garden (Whittemore Park, Arlington Center), and behind Trader Joe's (Arlington Heights). Check out the schedule.

WHY HAIKU?

Haiku is a Japanese poetry form that often calls attention to small, closely observed moments in the human and the natural worlds.  Haiku writers often recall a moment of beauty; however, they also use  humor, a shift in mood, or unexpected juxtapositions to create a surprise in their poems. Although haiku can be read quickly, these short poems can offer ideas and images to take away for longer reflection.

We selected haiku for this project for these qualities and because it will give writers with different interests, perspectives and life experience a shared form to express diverse points of view.

WHAT'S THE THEME?

The Bikeway, and your experience of it.  The Bikeway is an extraordinary resource, one of the first (and most heavily used) rail-to-trail paths in New England.  Originally a train route, its conversion to a bike route preserved a public way and miles of greenspace and habitat for birds and animals. The Bikeway travels through busy town centers as well as beautiful and inspiring natural places. It changes with the seasons and time of day, and everyone experiences it differently.

This project invited people to take some time to notice what is going on around them on the Bikeway, reflect on favorite places, vistas, or encounters.  Bikeway Haiku is an opportunity for the Haiku writers to share their experiences and insights with neighbors, just as we share the road.

SUBMISSION AND SELECTION PROCESS

All haiku had to be three lines long. Although English-language traditions and contemporary poets use various syllable counts, for this project we will use a composition with 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second, and 5 in the last. 

We received more than 460 haiku poems through a submission process that was open to all. Anyone who uses and appreciates the Minuteman Bikeway could enter.  We encouraged submissions from writers of all ages, as well as writers of any cultural background. All submissions had to be original and unpublished.

Our Selection Committee of three poets had the challenging task of narrowing down the 460 submissions to 111 to install in Arlington (75), Lexington (8) and Bedford (28). Tough job!  You can read a little about it here thanks to our media sponsor, The Arlington Advocate. 

All submitted haiku are published on our website and we hope to display additional haiku in public spaces as other opportunities arise.

PROJECT LEADERS

Cecily Miller, Project Director
Liz LaManche, Consulting Artist
Members of the Bicycle Advisory Committees for Arlington, Lexington and Bedford
Munroe Center for the Arts, Lexington
Arlington, Lexington and Bedford Public Libraries

SELECTION COMMITTEE
Charles Coe
Grey Held
Gloria Mindock

CONTACT US at bikewayhaiku @ gmail.com

THANKS TO OUR GENEROUS SPONSORS AND SUPPORTERS!