The Economy in Haiku

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What if you could explain economics and finance in the form of a poem? Jess Walter writes about exactly that in “The Financial Lives of the Poets," a novel that centers on a journalist who gives up newspaper work to offer online financial advice in free verse. The book comes out in paperback this month, just in time for the two-year anniversary of the financial crash that led to the current economic recession.

Jess tells us about the economy, poetry, and whether there's anything that's too awful to smile about or turn into a haiku.

Meanwhile, we're asking you: Send us your haikus about the economy. It can be anything about the recession, the recovery, the stimulus, your personal situation or the president's policies. Just remember the 5-7-5 form: five syllables, then seven syllables, then five syllables. We'll read the best ones on the air with Jess.

Text us yours to 69866 with the word TAKE, or call it in to 877-8-MY-TAKE.

Here are two to get you started (one is Jess's, one is ours):

The market collapsed.
The economy suffered.
We are still reeling.

Is it possible
that my long-lost lapsed lender
has contacted me?

Here are some we've gotten on Facebook and via text:


We sought too much.
We strove for everything
We remembered nothing.

—Michael Few 

Gray on gray, storms build.
The tower kept calling us.
Still we flew away.

—Steven Parker

Bought House This Decade
For Last Eight Years Payments Made
Equity Gone, Can't Sell Now

—Kevin Stebleton

Text messages:

Economy: wreck
people are living in fear
fringe groups reign supreme
—Natasha, Miami, Fla.

I want sustenance,
just food clothing and shelter,
then i'll be happy.
—Gary Fowler, Chandler, Okla.

Unscathed I sit
warm For my brethren
I cry Soon I may join them
—Jonathan, Columbia, S.C.

Green, fibrous cash
gets spent quicker than it's made.
I need more of it!
—Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

I have no money.
I want some, give me a job.
Saving is futile.
—Tamara, Baltimore, Md.

Comments [20]

Chris from Flushing

Washington "Mutual":
WaMu.... MuWho? “US”Mu?
“Chase”Mu? WhoMu? 'You?

Apr. 01 2012 01:52 AM
kathy from TN from nashville, tn

We created that
barbaric pop over the
rooftops of this world

Sep. 20 2010 12:08 AM
Bridget Hoyt from New York, NY

"Cut costs!" "More with less!!"
"Improved productivity!!!"
We're all exhausted.

Sep. 15 2010 10:09 PM
Diane Scheffler

How can I find the Haiku that was read today which was about "our greed...let's blame Obama"? I thought it was right-on.

Sep. 15 2010 07:57 PM
Dr. Goose from Glen Ridge, NJ

Like Mr. Walters' protagonist, I too began offering online financial commentary, in the form of "Limericks Économiques," but without having given up my day job. Here is one of my favorites:

"The New American Dream"

The Smiths, of 212 Willow Lane,
Thought their mortgage a terrible strain;
They defaulted and then
Moved next door to 210,
Where they rent, and are solvent a-gain.

Sep. 15 2010 02:35 PM
Rick Schober from Boston

Economic Haiku 1:

Nine dollars an hour.
I went to college for this?
I was misinformed.

Economic Haiku 2:

One paycheck away
From living in the Honda.
My wife calls "shotgun!"

Economic Haiku 3:

Mortgage or phone bill?
I can't pay them both this month.
I have boomer angst.

Sep. 15 2010 11:22 AM
Karen Sauvigne from NYC

Economic Haiku:
Lived beyond means
Gargantuan living styles
Not deserved - now gone

Sep. 15 2010 10:15 AM
Figliomeni from Detroit, MI

Are "we the people?"
From grammar wrought such foul thoughts?
When did grammar died

Sep. 15 2010 08:28 AM
Joshua Roles from Plantation, FL

Corporate Control
Regulation means price hike
Threats to common good

Sep. 14 2010 03:03 PM
Kathleen from Massachusetts

I am your talent
That's why I just have to ask:
Why ME for layoff?

Sep. 14 2010 09:15 AM
Gerard Attoun from Joplin, Missouri

Dow's up ninety points
Sam's Club serves crabcake samples
Mmm. Time for dinner

Sep. 13 2010 10:12 PM
Ian from Detroit

Job security?
Media has it in spades:
Manufactured news.

Sep. 13 2010 12:54 PM
dave mardis from Norman, ok

The banks robbed us.

With wide-eyed greed they practiced


Sep. 13 2010 10:47 AM
Brian Shube from Long Island

my name is Brian
traffic today was awful
bad economy?

Sep. 13 2010 09:40 AM
David Rowe from NYC

My Haiku:

Fiscal house amok.
Economy in freefall.
Need to turn the ship.

David L. Rowe

Sep. 13 2010 09:33 AM
JMA from Eastchester, NY

College loan payment envelope
Sealed, a drop of my thumb’s blood
Streaked across. Ouch! (Twice.)

Sep. 13 2010 09:00 AM
ceedee from mt.vernon,ny

left job recently
early retirement,you see
a year off ...and then?

Sep. 13 2010 08:39 AM
Cynthia Cotts from NYC

You asked for Japanese; this one is in Greek.

Χωρίς χρίματα,
τίποτα μπορεί να πάει.
Το κέφι λείπει.

Without money,
nothing can go.
The mood is missing.

Sep. 13 2010 08:36 AM
Edward Benet from Cape Coral, FL

our constitution:
no word on economy
all about justice

Sep. 13 2010 08:09 AM

again with red ink
my budget once more is drawn
less my fortunes change

Sep. 10 2010 12:27 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.