Haiku Newton 2023

The Haiku Newton project debuted in spring 2022, bringing poems on lawn-style signs to various locations in the Garden City. Passersby were surprised and delighted to encounter the haikus in parks or along busy sidewalks.

As word spread on social media about the project, people came from around Greater Boston to see the signs for themselves. Others viewed the poems via short online video tours that were created by project co-director Grey Held (pictured, first photo in carousel at right).

Thanks to grants from Newton Community Pride, the Newton Cultural Council, and Mass Cultural Council, which also supported the project last year, Grey and co-director Elizabeth Lund were thrilled to announce the submission period for Haiku Newton 2023 in February. They were also pleased to welcome Greg Fulchino as a co-director (second photo in carousel).

Poets from various states and two foreign countries submitted work. A panel of judges selected 24 winning poems, which were printed on display panels and attached to sign frames.

The 2023 signs were installed in front of the Newton Free Library, at 330 Homer Street, and in front of the First Baptist Church in Newton, at 848 Beacon Street. The poems were displayed at those sites until late May.

The signs were then moved to three locations, where they could be viewed until late July: the Depot Coffee Shoppe in Newton Upper Falls (third photo in carousel), the Boys & Girls Club, located at 675 Watertown Street, Newtonville, and Grey's front lawn on Watertown Street.

Haiku Newton also participated in this year's Linda Plaut Festival of the Arts, at the Hyde Community Center, 90 Lincoln Street, on July 22. One set of signs were on display, and a Haiku Hut encouraged attendees to write poems of their own.

If you weren't able to see the signs this year,  you can enjoy two videos that Grey Held created of the library installation. Each video features 12 poems, so viewers can see both sides of the signs. One tour heads toward the library's parking lot; the other heads toward Walnut Street.

Sign up for our mailing list to receive information about Haiku Newton 2024. We'll start sending updates in January.

Haiku Newton received so many wonderful submissions this year that we wanted to acknowledge them all. Co-director Greg Fulchino, a Senior Library Assistant, created a special binder, which was displayed on the Circulation Desk at the Newton Free Library until late May. The binder will be moved to a new location in the library soon. Greg also created a pdf for those who can only visit us online.

Both formats of the Haiku Newton anthology are intended to celebrate and encourage creativity, and to spotlight the talents of everyone who shared their poems with us.

We've heard several comments from people who've read through the binder before or after they checked out a book or renewed their library card. As one woman said, "This is a wonderful poetic pause, so unexpected."

To read the poems, click here, or download the file in the section below.

Haiku Newton Anthology 2023

You can read all the poems we received by downloading the file, at right.

how haiku newton began image
In early May 2022, the inaugural haiku signs were "planted" in two public parks: Newton Centre Green (banner photo, above) and Capt. Ryan Park. The signs remained there for two weeks, then were moved to the Upper Falls Greenway and the Waban Library.

On June 1, the signs traveled again – to the Newton Senior Center, at 345 Walnut Street in Newtonville, and the Nathaniel Allen House, 35 Webster Street in West Newton. The poems remained at the Allen House until July 23, when several of them moved back to the Newton Centre Green, to be part of the Linda Plaut Newton Festival of the Arts. The poems were accompanied by an interactive Haiku Hut.

The signs at the Senior Center (see photo at left) remained a few weeks longer.

As one passerby said of the signs, "They made me stop, think, and breathe." Another noted that the poems "talk to" one another, creating "an amazing and meaningful" respite in the midst of bustling village centers.

The project ended with an online reading of some of the poems, by the poets themselves. That reading can be seen on Elizabeth's series, Poetic Lines, which airs on NewTV.

Grey Held

Poet and Literary Activist

Grey Held is a recipient of a NEA Fellowship in Creative Writing, and the 2019 Future Cycle Poetry Book Prize Winner. Three books of his poetry have been published.

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Elizabeth Lund

Reviewer and Interviewer

Elizabeth Lund writes about poetry for The Christian Science Monitor, where she served as poetry editor for 10 years. She also hosts and produces Poetic Lines at NewTV.

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Greg Fulchino

Writer and Senior Library Assistant

Greg Fulchino is a writer and Senior Library Assistant who is passionate about bringing poetry to communities.

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Newton Cultural Council

Mass Cultural Council

Newton Community Pride

  • Newton, MA, USA