When I taught English and journalism at Springfield College in Illinois (before our merger with Benedictine), I workshopped poems along with my creative writing students. One of the forms we experimented with was “found poetry.” The Academy of American Poets explains, “Found poems take existing texts and refashion them, reorder them, and present them as poems. The literary equivalent of a collage, found poetry is often made from newspaper articles, street signs, graffiti, speeches, letters, or even other poems.” And Japanese haiku invoke the passing of the seasons. This is a haiku I found in October 2001, when emotions were still raw after 9/11, on a portable marquee outside Cook’s Spice Rack across the street from the Illinois National Guard armory on North Grand Avenue. The three lines reminded me of a haiku, and the middle line was one of the first indications that things were starting to get back to normal after the atrocity in New York City. I included it in The Sleepy Weasel, our campus literary magazine, for the 2001-02 year. 


haiku found on
restaurant marquee
in a time of terror

Peter Ellertsen

October 16, 2001

god bless america —
meat loaf
pray for victims & military

The Sleepy Weasel, Vol. 7, 2001-02

3 thoughts on “Haiku from our campus literary magazine at SCI-Benedictine a month after 9/11

  1. Hadn’t thought about found poetry in a while. Of course as an English professor at an art college I saw a great deal of visual art made from found objects. Always a treat for the eyes. Loved the two haiku here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How cool! Not very many people noticed the other haiku … 🙂 But when I look at it now, with almost 20 years’ hindsight, I wish I’d written the head: “an early sign / that things were getting / back to normal” — I’m running a 13-ball juggling act this afternoon, but I’ll be posting another found poem when I get time.

      Liked by 1 person

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