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Tucson poets put their haikus on display Downtown

The Haiku Hike features twenty haikus along Congress and Stone Avenue in Downtown Tucson until June 1
Posted at 4:01 PM, Apr 04, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-04 22:09:41-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Haikus are three-line poems that have seventeen syllables in three lines of five-seven-five.

Each year, local haikus are displayed in Downtown Tucson as part of the haiku hike.


“I’m just really happy my grandparents could be honored in this way," Alisha Vasquez said.

Vasquez is one of the over two-thousand poets who submitted haikus.

Her poem reads:

“Nana and tata...
Caminaron esta ave…
Mano a mano.”
Alisha Vasquez

She brought with her the inspiration for the haiku, a picture of her grandparents walking down Congress in the 1950s.

Nana and TATA

“They would have laughed, they would have thought this was super cool," Vasquez said.

Amanda Meeks is a local librarian, artist, death doula, and now a poet.

“They’re very beautiful. I think it’s a really nice public art project, and it feels very Tucson to me, too," Meeks said.

Her haiku says:

“To know life is cyclical…
Not linear - one way to…
Belong to the moon.”
Amanda Meeks

She says the inspiration for her haiku came from her work as a death doula, but she is also excited for passersby to come up with their own meanings.


"It’s really sweet to know people are going to get to read it and interpret it in their own ways," Meeks said.

Just 20 of the over 2,000 submissions were chosen to be displayed downtown.

TC Tolbert, Tucson's Poet Laureate, was in charge of choosing which haikus were picked.

"I got it down to 50 and after that it was a real challenge," Tolbert said.

This year's theme was "serenity," but among the haikus are many different perspectives on that theme.


“There are some really incredible poets in the world and in Tucson," Tolbert said. "So I just want to thank everyone for giving me a chance to read them because it was a real delight.”

The poems are on display until June 1.

Adam Klepp is a reporter for KGUN 9. At his previous station in Yuma, Adam focused on a range of local issues including the border, water rights and healthcare. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan, and attended both Loyola University Chicago and Syracuse University. Share your story ideas and important issues with Adam by emailing or by connecting on Twitter.