(23 April 1953 – 30 October 2016)
the gates to Graceland
Haiku Elvis, aka Carlos Colón (7/27/2016 - Shreveport Memorial Library)
Carlos Wildo Colón, aka Haiku Elvis, was born on 23 April 1953 in Shreveport, Louisiana, USA. He earned his BA in English at Louisiana State University Shreveport and later received a Master's in Library Science from Louisiana State University – Baton Rouge. He worked at Memphis Public Library for a short time, and then returned to Shreveport to work at Shreve Memorial Library until his retirement in 2011.
Carlos Colón began writing poetry and song parodies in grade school. Upon graduation from college, he began submitting to magazines and newspapers and was first published in South by Southeast, 2:2 (1995). He has since published over 1400 poems, 8 articles, 126 reviews, and 10 songs in a variety of journals and anthologies including Modern Haiku, Frogpond, Journal of Poetry Therapy, The Heron's Nest , Writer's Digest, Louisiana Literature, Haiku in English, Higginson's Haiku World, The Southern Poetry Anthology, The Red Moon Anthology, etc. Eight of his poems have been published in The Red Moon Anthology, which yearly collects the best English-Language haiku and related works. Carlos Colón is the author of 12 chapbooks including collections of haiku and concrete poetry as well as his book “Haiku Elvis: A Life in 17 Syllables (or Less)”. His poetry is also part of two public art projects: the "Let the Good Times Roll" mural in Festival Plaza - Shreveport, Louisiana, and a renku display outside of a temple on Sado Island in Japan. In addition, Carlos was editor of Shreve Memorial Library's Electronic Poetry Network, which he established in 1997, a 1994 Pushcart Prize nominee and was also named Caddo Parish Poet Laureate in 2014.
As a dedicated practicing haiku and renku poet and a long-time member of the Haiku Society of America, Carlos Colón was a mentor to numerous poets and writers across the world. Locally, he served as a board member of the Shreveport Regional Arts Council (SRAC) where he fostered a deep appreciation for the arts in Shreveport. An exceptional collaborator, Carlos worked with fellow poets Alexis Rotella, Marlene Mountain, Raffael de Gruttola, and others writing concrete poetry and various renga forms. Many of his remarkable poems originally appeared in these innovative collaborative works.
In addition to writing haiku, Carlos was an accomplished bridge player and a man of strong faith. As a life-long member of St. Joseph Catholic Church, he was an active prayer warrior, assisted with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program, and was a sacristan and Eucharistic Minister for daily mass.
Carlos Colón, age 63, passed away on Sunday, 30 October 2016 from a heart attack. He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Alma; daughter, Gina and his grandson, Anthony; sisters, Gloria , Linda, Sylvia; brother, Richard.
Some awards and other honours:
- Nominated for Pushcart Prize XX (1994);
- Honourable Mention, Haiku Society of America Merit Book Awards for editing Voices and Echoes: Haiku Society of America Members' Anthology, 2001 (2002);
- Recipient, Shreveport Regional Arts Council Literature Fellowship (2002);
- Finalist for Sixteenth Annual Louisiana Literature Prize for Poetry (2002);
- Honourable Mention, Kanterman Merit Book Awards for editing haiku anthology (Haiku Society of America, 2002);
- The Heron's Nest Award (June 2003);
- Second Place, Gerald Brady Memorial Award for Unpublished Senryu (2003);
- First Place, San Francisco International Senryu Contest (2004);
- Recipient, Shreveport Regional Arts Council Theatre Fellowship (2011);
- His book Haiku Elvis - A Life in 17 Syllables (or Less) was shortlisted for the Touchstone Distinguished Book Award (2013);
- Named Caddo Parish Poet Laureate by Caddo Parish Commission, (2014).
six k places i at t once t this e new n
(a part of "One Eight Hundred" (linked haiku by Marlene Mountain and Carlos Colón) in "Mirrors", Winter 1995)
an air guitar
slightly out of tune
(RAW NerVZ HAIKU III:1 (1996) as part of "Mardi Gras Parade," a renga written with Alexis K. Rotella)
in the wrong
(From a Kind Neighbor: Haiku Society of America Members' Anthology 1997)
my daughter’s eyes
when I refuse
(Frogpond XXII.1, 1999)
ready to carve
a smile on it
this orange moon
(The Heron's Nest II.1, 2002)
in the middle
of making love
(2nd Place, 2003 Gerald Brady Memorial Awards)
his strike zone
(Modern Haiku XXXV.3, 2004)
(Simply Haiku, Summer 2009, vol 7 no 2)
Kentucky fried chicken
love me tenders
how did it get here
this strand of red hair
on my blue suede shoe
(Haiku Chronicles Episode 21: Halloween Extravaganza, 2011)
with gloved hands
the ransom note
(Modern Haiku, Volume 44.1, Winter-Spring 2013)
Published chapbooks and books:
- THE WORST OF almira gulch [satirical poetry] (self-published,1984);
- Almira Gulch: Confessions of a Social Wallflower [musical] (self-published,1987);
- The Kleppie Handbook (unpublished manuscript, 1982);
- Blue Jay on a Bowling Pin (self-published, 1991);
- Jiminy Limericks (self-published, 1991 and 1994 [illustrated version]);
- Mountain Climbing [(haiku and concrete poetry] (self-published, 1993);
- Nothing Inside [linked poem with Alexis K. Rotella] (proof press, 1996);
- Clocking Out (self-published, 1996);
- Sassy [a collection of linked poetry with Alexis K. Rotella] (self-published, 1998);
- Circling Bats: A Concrete Renga [with Raffael de Gruttola] (self-published, 2001);
- You Don't Need a Weatherman (unpublished poetry manuscript, 2001);
- Wall Street Park: A Concrete Renku [with Raffael de Gruttola] (self-published, 2007);
- Autumn Leaves: A Twelve-Tone Concrete Renku [with Raffael de Gruttola] (self-published, 2010);
- The Inside Scoop: New and Selected Poems [poetry] (Naissance, 2010);
- Haiku Elvis - A Life in 17 Syllables (or Less) (Laughing Cactus Press, 2013).
- The Best of the Electronic Poetry Network (Shreveport Regional Arts Council Literary Panel, 2000);
- Voices and Echoes: Haiku Society of America Members' Anthology, 2001 (Haiku Society of America, 2001);
- Between Quiet and Confrontation (Lost Words Publishing, 2003).
Additional information for this profile has been kindly provided by Charles Trumbull including Carlos’ obituary published in Shreveport Times from Nov. 3 to Nov. 4, 2016.