Old Pueblo Poems

Old Pueblo Poems

The Downtown Tucson Partnership together with the University of Arizona Poetry Center were proud to announce the 1st annual Old Pueblo Poems literary competition. 20 winning haiku poems were chosen out of 977 haiku entries in the inaugural competition! The 2019 theme was “Life in the City.” Haiku entries were judged by Tucson’s Poet Laureate, TC Tolbert. Out of the total haiku entries, 825 came from Tucson and the remaining hailed from 12 different states and five countries.

The 20 winning haiku were featured on signage located along Congress Street and Stone Avenue in Downtown Tucson during the months of March, April and May.  These signs provided visual and cultural interest throughout the Spring season and the community was encouraged to take a Haiku Hike through Downtown Tucson to view and reflect on these beautiful poems. View the poem locations on the map at the bottom of this page.


What is a Haiku…

… a Japanese poem of seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five.

Learn more about how to write a Haiku here.

View the slide show of the first ever Haiku Hike, held on March 21st:

2019 winning haiku:

El Presidio
Layers of time not of past
Sun warmed adobe
– Philip Brown

A shock of green grows
Pushing through the cracked sidewalk
Monsoon graffiti
– Eric Carr

Past the market place,
near Tohono O’odham graves,
the Rillito flows.
– Gerry Connolly

Post-baseball we buy
raspados and sit under
Palo Verdes’ shade.
– Micaila DeClouette

dry riverbeds flow
rainbow crosswalk marks my path
Tucson, meet yourself
– Mark English

Bicycle at eve,
‘Neath the Old Pueblo’s bridges,
Stop – behold the bats.
– Isaac Flater

Community is
The spines of the prickly pear
Not harming the bird.
– Rachel Haimowitz

Mi barrio lindo,
Con tus caras morenas,
Siento alivio
– Robert Hernandez

Pueblo viejo,
Land of mananas para
Todos los gustos
– Wayne Heuple

Noche y día
madreselva del jardín
me trae recuerdos.
– Clara Luna

late night dance party
confetti spills down Congress
monsoon washes clean
– Lisa Periale Martin

Waiting for the buzz
Of late-summer cicadas
Yellow flowers fall.
– Alanna Mejia

Now the day goes still
Letting Tucson catch its breath
While the sky burns red
– Judi Molina

Palo verde dance
A lively Tucson tango
To the streetcar’s hum
– Kevin Orduno

Night unfurls downtown
caress and whoosh of streetcar
train whistles and owls
– Elizabeth Salper

Monastery doors
Open wide for the stranger
All us honored guests
– Joel Smith

Oil spatters. Heated
air wavers. Grandmother twirls
the perfect frybread.
– Monique Soria

orange desert sunrise
the streetcar mirrors blue iris
in cafe window
– Jill Sweeney

Saguaros in bloom
Cultures meeting culturas
Sahuaros en flor
– William Y. Velez

Downtown Tucson walk –
My family ghosts abound here.
Ether presence now.
– Geri Hooper Wharam