Haiku Week

Artist Name(s) Mark Roper
Artwork title Haiku Week
Context/Background The project was devised by Mark Roper during an 18-month residency with the Waterford Healing Arts Trust and was facilitated by Mark and the staff of the Trust over a week long period in May 2003. The context of this project was the entire hospital community: patients, medical staff, ancillary staff, visitors, basically anyone who was 'in' the space of the hospital during the period. The idea was to get as many haiku as possible from as many people as possible in this period, in order to get something like a representative 'snapshot' of the life of the hospital community.


The haiku is a a very old form of poetry originating in Japan. It consists of seventeen syllables, spread over three lines. Its brevity allows the form to create something like an instant verbal image. It's a form whose use can be taught quickly, and is now very widely practiced in the West. It is also for very popular in schools. For these reasons of brevity and ease of execution, the form was chosen as an ideal way of creating the snapshot of a week at the hospital and of furthering interest in the role of the writer-in-residence.

Patients, staff and visitors in Waterford Regional Hospital were invited to write a short Haiku in response to their hospital experience. The writer-in-residence trained the Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT) staff in the practice of the haiku. During the Haiku Week, the staff, eight in all, devoted as much time as possible to getting people to participate.

According to Roper:"The idea of Haiku Week was to compile a kind of verbal snapshot of as many different aspects of hospital life as possible. What you will find here is a mosaic of different voices, a community of different concerns. Some of the Haiku are highly humorous, some hard hitting and some very poignant."The aim of Haiku Week was to encourage people to make a good short poem and not become slaves to the seventeen-syllable format. The week resulted in the publication of a book of haiku called Did you bring the Socks?


Mark Roper was born in England in 1951, moving to Ireland in 1980. Since then he has lived in Tobernabrone, near Piltown, Co. Kilkenny. 

??His poetry collections include The Hen Ark (Peterloo, 1990), which won the 1992 Aldeburgh Prize for best first collection; Catching The Light (Peterloo, 1997); and The Home Fire (Abbey Press, 1998). Reviewing the latter for The Irish Literary Supplement, Bill Tinley described Roper as "one of the most accomplished and engaging poets writing in Ireland at present". Whereabouts was published in 2005 by Abbey Press & Peterloo. Even So: New & Selected Poems was published by Dedalus Press in Autumn 2008.??

Mark was Editor of Poetry Ireland in 1999. In 2001 he edited Ink Bottle, a selection of new writing from Kilkenny, and was awarded Kilkenny's Father Sean Swayne Art Bursary.??

An experienced creative writing teacher, he is currently working in adult education in Waterford and Kilkenny. He has run courses and workshops in many different settings, including schools, prisons, and senior citizen centres. From September 2002 to May 2003 he was writer-in-residence at Waterford Regional Hospital.

Commission Type Other
Commissioner Name Waterford Healing Arts Trust
Commissioning process Direct Commission
Project commission dates May 23, 2003 - May 30, 2003
Partners Waterford Healing Arts Trust, Heather's Cafe, Waterford Regional Hospital.
Artform Literature
Art Practice Arts and health
Funded By The Arts Council,Other
Project commission start date 23/05/2003
Project commission end date 30/05/2003
Location Waterford Regional Hospital
County Waterford
Google Map Insert View this projects location
Content contributor(s) Mark Roper
Relationship to project Writer-in-residence



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