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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Friday, September 19, 2003

Haiku on High

16 poems will grace new downtown parking structure

by Miriam Boon, Martin Nobida, Grace Rauh and Terry Tang

H aiku poetry, a traditional Japanese art form, can convey significant meaning in a very economical way.

A mere three lines and, in English versions, 17 syllables (5-7-5), the haiku poem expresses a profundity that belies its simple structure. For those unfamiliar with this ancient art form, a crash course can be had simply by parking your car in the new garage located close to University Avenue, between Alma and High streets. There, 16 haiku poems will be permanently displayed along the staircases on the High Street side of the structure. Palo Alto designer Sam Smidt hand-wrote each haiku on black horizontal panels.

The 16 poets were selected in April from a competition co-sponsored by the Palo Alto Weekly, the city of Palo Alto, the Palo Alto Art Center, the Palo Alto Adult School, the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce and Candidates had to either live or work in Palo Alto or the surrounding area, and were divided into two groups: adults and youths 17 and under.

Approximately 500 poems were submitted and judged by a panel of five individuals: Doree Allen, director of Stanford University's oral communication program; Kathryn Dunlevie, visual artist and Palo Alto Public Art Commission member; Robyn Israel, arts and entertainment editor for the Palo Alto Weekly; Jenny Munro, English teacher at Gunn High School; and Renato Rosaldo, a poet in the Waverly Writers group and teacher of cultural anthropology at Stanford University.

The following is a brief description of the 16 winners, along with their winning haikus. A celebration of the High/Alma south parking structure will take place on Sept. 24 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.



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