Poster Image

These Syracuse Blues


Item#: 2007SYR08

Purchase Details

11x17-inches, printed on heavy weight (100-pound) Hammermill cover paper. We package each print with a piece of chipboard in a clear plastic sleeve.

You also receive…

An information page with photos of the artist and poet, and hand-written comments from each.

Medium- and large-format posters are available by custom order. Contact us for details.

These Syracuse Blues

poster information


these Syracuse blues
two parts snow and two parts cold
soul red hot to burn

I am not a poet. I am a lyrical novelist in the African American oral tradition and a coffee house blues man, who uses poetic cadences and blues-based motifs in my wordplay. So this piece was a matter of familiarizing myself with the syllable count and then riffing blues haiku, playing with Syracuse weather, and its reputation as a blues city. A city with soul.

I was inspired by work of Ethridge Knight. He did blues haikus when he was in Memphis, my hometown. One in particular: "You get the blues in twos / when you be living like I be living / in Memphis, Tennessee."
Syracuse toos.

Having been acquainted with Professor Arthur Flowers through his Sophomore Fiction class, I saw in his haiku a great amount of personality. I could imagine the timbre of his voice as he bellowed out each line and the passion with which he had written, “Soul red hot to burn.”

I felt that the abstraction of Flowers' piece called for a certain level of simplicity in the illustration. It was my hope to embody the sense of winter in Syracuse and the beauty of music without too much extraneous visual information.

The speech bubble coming from the man's saxophone is meant to do more than just convey the idea of music—it reveals the silhouette of Clinton Square and hopefully a feeling of warmth in spite of the cold