Pure Poetry with The Haiku Guys


What started out as a little booth on a street corner in Williamsburg with the intention of conducting a series of interviews about entrepreneurship blossomed into a lucrative poetry-writing business that can earn them up to $250 an hour. The Haiku Guys, composed of Lisa Markuson, Erick Szentmiklosy and Daniel Zaltsman, are hired to write to poems at an array of events, and their next stop is the Montauk Beach House this Saturday (July 25th). I sat down with this quick-on-trigger trio to talk about the genesis of their unique business, and their answers delivered in 5-7-5 syllabic phrases will leave a smile on your face for the rest of the day, guaranteed. 

It took me so long/To come up with this haiku/Please don’t laugh at me. Okay, that’s the best I can do. I am ready to receive your judgment. (Bonus: I will do a somersault if you deliver your answer in haiku).

time is but a thang

double points for trying doe

you’re now one of us

That was the best icebreaker ever. Anyway, tell me when you noticed your knack for poetry. How old were you? Did you doodle in your notebooks growing up in school?

we often wrote words

not always in haiku form

but we were poets

11022594_635338893234695_6248242646657524486_nDo you write poetry for yourselves? And if so, what have you been writing about recently?

keep pocket notebooks

moments of inspiration

come at any time

from hills to highways

city streets are rocket fuel

our hearts on paper

Why do you think people like having customized poetry written for them? And what is it about the haiku that’s so powerful and effective? Is it the brevity perhaps?

when was the last time

someone wrote a poem for you?

surprise gifts for all

I know you still have your day jobs, but if this were to grow even more would you consider doing it full-time? Where do you want to see The Haiku Guys go?

all around the world

in languages we’ve yet learned

as this plane takes flight

Did you feel pressure when you first started doing this? I mean, once you started building a following and getting gigs; did it ever affect the creative flow, and if so, how did you combat that?

if you read our work

from when we first hit the streets

you’d have a good laugh

with each day that comes

perfect practice makes perfect

always aim higher

What are some funny stories you have about people requesting haikus from you? Any peculiar people stick out in your mind?

just the other night

a woman requested one

about a jewish portugese man whose favorite word was “disgusting”

we asked her for another subject

sometimes it just doesn’t happen

What are some reactions you see from people when they read their poetry? Why is poetry the most pure, unadulterated glimpse into one’s soul?

sometimes its as if

the entire world disappears

other than their poem

tell us anything

we promise to meditate

and return to you

somewhere in the ether

we connect with your intent

our words take you there

Are you excited for Montauk?! What plans of leisure do you have when you visit?!

atlantic wonder

calling for adventurers

no time for leisure

What’s the next step for The Haiku Guys? Can you give us a sneak peek?

everywhere you go

your own personal poets

on call all the time


Guest Written by Greg Mania.