Sherese Francis and Ran Yan are the Site Captains for the Lewis Latimer House's Pre-Wavelengths Reading event, Rainbow Haiku, taking place on Saturday, May 20, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.
In this hectic rush of daily life in the city, it is nice to have a moment, take a breather. This past month, as part of a DIY Chapbook Challenge, I wrote a series of haiku poems and then made small chapbooks out of used paper. When Ran invited me to be a site captain at the Lewis Latimer House, I thought, why not continue with haiku for the Queens Writes Weekend?
Haiku may seem short but they are great way to express the essence of a moment in a few words, like a snapshot. They are also present the fun challenge of playing with words so that they fit in the syllabic structure (5-7-5) of the form, or for those not following that exact structure, just the brevity of of the form. And with all that is going on in our lives, the haiku might be a great fit for our times.
Rainbow Haiku is inspired by the current Light Spectrum installation at the Lewis Latimer House. Created by Antonia A. Perez, the installation is a tower of crocheted plastic bags in a rainbow of colors. For this Queens Writes Weekend event, we will write haiku inspired by rainbows, colors, light, spring, gardens, recycling, environment, nature, weather, climate change, earth science, etc. With the recent Earth Day protests as well Antonia's and my projects of recycling materials, it is an opportunity to write your thoughts about our relationship with the earth around us in haiku form. Examples of haiku and haiku variations by various poets from Ezra Pound to Sonia Sanchez, copies of my haiku chapbook, and a list of words to stir your minds will also be present. We encourage writers to share what they wrote afterwards, and possibly submit it to Newtown Literary for an upcoming issue.
Following the Rainbow Haiku event, Lewis Latimer House will present Wavelengths from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. This reading of poetry and prose by Queens Writers’ Lab, inspired by the Light Spectrum installation, explores the interplay between secret and illuminated spaces and how the unseen is made manifest. The featured readers will be Nancy Agabian, Catherine Fletcher, Jared Harel, Mary Lannon, Meera Nair, and Sokunthary Svay.
This is our first time as site captains and we are excited! We look forward to seeing everyone on the 20th!