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by Michael Dylan Welch and Jacqueline Calladine

Weathergrams were invented by Lloyd Reynolds, a master calligrapher at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, who published a book titled Weathergrams in 1972. Reynolds said that weathergrams are “poems of about ten words or less,” and that they are “generally seasonal.” These poems are calligraphed onto strips of biodegradable paper, often grocery bag paper, with a string added so they can be displayed in public places. He said they should be “hung on bushes or trees in gardens or along mountain trails” for “three months or longer,” where they can “weather & wither like old leaves.”

Weathergrams were directly influenced by haiku poetry, and continue to interest haiku poets. In 2011, Barbara Snow gave a weathergram workshop at that year’s Seabeck Haiku Getaway in Washington State. Attendees made numerous weathergrams and hung them on the bushes and trees around the conference center, where they were enjoyed by many visitors over the following months. Some survived until the following year, and the conference center staff said they delighted in discovering our haiku weathergrams throughout the year. Making weathergrams immediately became an annual Seabeck tradition, and the practice has spread to other parts of the haiku community, most recently at the Haiku North America conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in September of 2017.

Weathergram poems and their calligraphy are often spontaneous and ephemeral. The collection presented here, though, uses previously published haiku by Michael Dylan Welch, with artwork by Jacqueline Calladine, integrating the poems into weathergram haiga. She worked with recycled, found, and foraged materials, created her inks using locally sourced materials, and employed sewing, fabrics, gold flecks, and dyeing in her collage process. These weathergrams were produced as part of a 2014 exhibition and public art project in the historical downtown core of Redmond, Washington, funded by a grant from 4Culture while Michael was the city’s poet laureate. These weathergrams were also made into a set of greeting cards, which are available from both Michael (www.graceguts.com) and Jacqui (www.jkcalladine.com).

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