Business and haikus may not seem to mix, but Cal Boardman, a U professor emeritus of finance, didn’t let that stop him.
Boardman recently published, as the editor, a book of 166 such poems, which consist of three lines, written over many years by his students. The book is titled Haikus on Business, and Boardman said all the proceeds will be donated to an undergraduate scholarship fund for the David Eccles School of Business.
When he began teaching his foundations of business class in 1993, Boardman looked for a creative way for his students to express their feelings and thoughts about commerce in their lives. To do this, Boardman required his students to write him haikus on the topic in 2001. While the assignment was mandatory, Boardman gave students the option of giving him permission to eventually publish the poems upon his retirement.
After retiring in June 2013, he began to sort through the nearly 4,000 poems he had collected over the years. Boardman narrowed down the collection by about 80 percent before organizing a panel of business and writing professors, community leaders, artists, CEOs and other professionals to make final selections.
The book was published at the end of 2015. Tracy Mckellar, spokesperson for the David Eccles School of Business, said the student authors, who are all credited in the book, were each given a free copy.
Neither Boardman nor Mckellar had an exact figure for the amount of scholarship money the book has raised so far, but Mckellar said it has been gaining popularity and 30 copies were sold at the U Campus Store last week.
Boardman started the project to help his students “learn business through the eyes of the poet-philosopher and get a wide-ranging approach” to the subject. He also wanted his students to communicate their opinions in a direct format, which he feels the 17-syllable structure of a haiku accomplished.
“I’m incredibly honored by and proud of those students,” Boardman said. “There are amazing poems in that book.”
The poems are organized by topic, such as business, accounting, finance, management and ethics.
Boardman hopes readers will get a look into the world of business as well as the candid opinions of students on their undergraduate experience studying in the field. He said the haikus were not screened by whether the student author saw their business experience in a positive or negative light, but merely for quality.
Haikus on Business is available at the U Campus Store, Amazon.com or the King’s English Bookshop.