Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bandit Signs

I never knew what bandit signs were until artist John Morse nailed his haiku to streetlamps and utility poles at intersections around Atlanta and attracted the attention not only of local media but also of such representatives as The New Yorker , that prestigious and hoary periodical known for its commentary on popular culture, and The Guardian online, one of the highest-traffic English-language news sites on the web. Bandit signs, for those of you who share my unenlightened state and need a definition, are those ubiquitous illegal ads, usually designed to appeal to the desperate, that promise rapid weight loss, quick and easy loans, or high-paying work from the comfort of home. Morse combined this 21st-century guerilla marketing strategy with the ancient poetic form to create what he calls “poetic snapshots of the urban condition.” He placed fifty copies each of ten different “Roadside Haiku” at busy sites around the city, hoping to provoke passersby to stop and think.

I find Morse’s project interesting, and even viewing his haiku via the Internet has prompted me to stop and think. BUT—his project also set me thinking that bandit sign haiku would be a great way to get the message out about a favorite book or about romance fiction generally. Using guerilla stealth, we could post them in our own towns and cities, or we could be virtual gorillas and tweet the haiku or post it on a blog, in a forum, or on a Facebook wall. Since I’m much too timid to actually break a law, even if it’s only a violation of a city ordinance, I think I’ll opt for a cyber posting. You probably should too.

Remember that a haiku in English is a three-line, seventeen-syllable poem of 5-7-5 syllables.

Bodice Rippers? No!
Relationships, HEAs,
Empowered women.

Fairy tale romance
delivers sizzle and smiles:
A Kiss at Midnight.

My challenge to you: between now and midnight (EDT) September 22, write a haiku in praise of romance novels generally or of a specific novel and post your virtual bandit sign here and somewhere else in cyberspace. I mentioned some possibilities above--another blog, a forum, Facebook, Twitter. I'm sure you can think of others. Then, post a link here. I’ll let the Randomizer pick a winner from among those who post, and I’ll send the winner a bag of books that I consider bandit-sign worthy.


JulieJustJulie said...

Oooohhhh Janga, this sounds like fun!

Keira Soleore said...

Janga, you always have something fun going on here on your blog. Here's my offering...

What A Scoundrel Wants,
Unusual Historical,
Robin Hood's forest.

Complex characters
And evocative writing,
Carrie Lofty, yeah!

Janga said...

Thanks, Julie. I hope it will be fun. I sure had a good time writing this post. :)

Janga said...

Love your haiku, Keira! Thanks for participating. I've only read Carrie Lofty's Song of Seduction; I thought it was wonderful.

Kris Kennedy said...

I never heard of John Morse, but how wonderful! I loved the pictures you posted of his 'roadside haiku' bandit signs.

Janga said...

Kris, I never heard of him before his "roadside haiku" either, but I agree they are wonderful. Thanks for dropping by.

Janga said...

Keira, please send me your contact info, and I'll send your books.

Keira Soleore said...

WOW! Me? Thank you, Janga! This is totally fabulous!!! (DMing on Twitter.)

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