Focus on haiku for Hadley’s poet laureate

  • Wanda Cook, the first poet laureate for Hadley, at her home, Tuesday, June 23, 2020. Her first project as laureate was a collection of haiku displayed on the Norwottuck Rail Trail. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 4/13/2021 12:13:34 PM

HADLEY — Hadley’s first poet laureate is again bringing haiku poetry to residents this year, with the first 2021 project a rotating display of poems to be shown on a screen at the Hadley Public Library starting Saturday.

Wanda Cook found a new medium this year, after displaying haiku poems on the Norwottuck Rail Trail and at the Hadley dike last year in collaboration with the Hadley Cultural Council. She also circulated 15 more poems on postcards through the mail to Hadley residents in 2020. 

Titled “Prompting the Fledgling,” the library display will feature a video of five haiku poems for each season of the year, as well as introductory photographs and explainer pages, giving people picking up books they have ordered through the online catalog a chance to be immersed in the poetry.

The debut of the project coincides with National Haiku Poetry Day, held every April 17, and is part of National Poetry Month.

Cook said it remains important for her to bring more attention to haiku, a short poem that deals with nature or human nature, and usually has three lines.

“Part of these is to give information about what haiku is,” Cook said.

Due to the pandemic, Cook has not yet been able to do a hands-on workshop to teach children and adults how to craft haiku poems, but just seeing the poetry should inspire people, she said.

Among the poems she has written that will be on display are “Framed by the window/ budding apple tree/ new yoga posture” and “Spring thaw/ the tattered clothes/ of the scarecrow.”

In addition to the screen at the library, the project will be broadcast on Charter cable channel 191 Saturday at 3 p.m., 8 p.m. and 11:20 p.m. and available anytime on the YouTube channel starting at midnight.

Cook said she has used her own home as a means of promoting haiku. In what she calls a popular walking neighborhood, people have been able to see haiku poems displayed in her windows.

Meantime, Cook said she hasn’t yet received any of last summer’s postcards back in the mail, though she had hoped that once they had circulated they would return to her.

“Postcards are out there, but nothing has come back yet,” Cook said.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at

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