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Can haiku help the economy?

Web site encourages poetic commentary on U.S. finances.

By Teresa Mears Dec 2, 2009 4:31PM

We’ve all read (and some of us have written) reams of prose about the economy in the last few years.


Perhaps it’s time for some economic poetry.


The Peter G. Peterson Foundation, formed by the co-founder of the Blackstone Group private equity fund, has decided that’s just what the nation needs: fiscal haiku. So it has created a Web site, appropriately named, where people can express their feelings about the economy in the formatted Japanese poetry called haiku. A haiku has 17 syllables, five in the first line, seven in the second and five in the third.


So far, more than 375 people have waxed poetic, or attempted to, about the current economic climate. A few samples:


The quest for riches
led us into temptation.
Now we're all flat broke.


That’s just one of several poems submitted by Kirk A. of Surfside, Fla., a Miami suburb. He also offered:


Mortgages packaged
like anchovies in a can.
We swallowed them whole.


From Mary F. of Vienna, Va.:


Movie showing now
Crouching Mortgage, Growing Debt
How will good guys win?


The most highly ranked so far is by Miriam R. of Miami:


"When the tide goes out,"
Warren Buffett sagely said,
"naked swimmers blush."


Myra Sung, spokeswoman for the foundation, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the site was launched “to constructively express the multitude of frustrations of the American public.”


“We’re a foundation based primarily on the notion our financial situation with the government is hitting a crisis point, [so] we understand these are very serious issues and we devote a lot of time and resources to it,’’ she said. “But we also recognized people are frustrated and they want to voice their opinions in a variety of ways.”


We’re not sure haiku will do much to help the country out of its current economic mess, but we suppose it can’t hurt. Creative writing certainly can be therapeutic. Feel free to leave a comment in verse, haiku or otherwise. Perhaps a sonnet or a rap?

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