© 2024 WNIJ and WNIU
Northern Public Radio
801 N 1st St.
DeKalb, IL 60115
Northern Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

From one art form into another - artist creates inspiration for songs

Jenny Bienemann
Yvonne Boose
Jenny Bienemann

A northern Illinois poet is using a particular poetry form to inspire others to write.

Jenny Bienemann and friends are bringing haiku-inspired songs to The Venue in Aurora next month. Bienemann is also an award-winning singer and songwriter who grew up in Naperville. She studied theater as a child and in college. But there came a point where the thrill of acting fizzled.

“I had done it for so long, that by the time I graduated, I didn't really have the heart to do it professionally,” she said. “And so, I started working for a film production company, Big Deal Productions in Chicago.”

Working for the film company didn’t satisfy her. She said she realized that how she earned her living, needed to be aligned with what she calls her “spirit’s purpose.” She said waiting for someone to pick her to be in a play or waiting for the right audition would never work when she had two small children.

“But my guitar sitting in the corner was always there. When I came home from work, when I got up early in the morning, when I had midnight inspiration. So, it seemed very natural and very obvious, and very celebratory to just pick up the guitar.”

Bienemann said playing the guitar was the catalyst for songwriting. She started playing the string instrument when she was a child. Her mom noticed that the sound of the instrument intrigued Bienemann. She gifted her with her first guitar and gave her an instructional book.

“And when she saw I couldn't get further out with it on my own, she introduced me to someone who helped,” she said. “So, it's really my parents set me up to learn the guitar, partway through high school.”

Bienemann said she journaled a lot and some of the writing came out in poetry form. She started focusing on haikus because for her, they were short and took less time to create. She said five years later, she’s learned that it could take just as long to write a haiku as it can to write a song.

In 2018, Bienemann wrote a book called “Haiku Milieu’ and decided to have a release party. She decided to ask her friends to pick a haiku out of the book and create a song. That experience gave birth to similar events, which she gave the same name as her first publication.

“So, part of the reason why I wanted to do ‘Haiku Milieu’ was to give career musicians a place where it's okay to be new. It's okay to not play your hits.”

Another way Bienemann connects with people is by posting haikus on social media. She includes those and other literary jewels on her website ‘Haiku Milieu.” Each Sunday an email goes out to those who are on the email distribution list. Poets are invited to submit their own haikus that can be featured on this platform. Bienemann's upcoming book is called "Sundays with Jenny Bienemann and Haiku Milieu."

Bienemann said she was invited to The Venue for a ‘Song Around’ with Aaron Kelly and Pete Jive and when she entered the building, she thought it was so welcoming. She had the idea to bring her series Haiku Milieu to the establishment but for this show she is featuring local musicians.

Bienemann will host the upcoming Haiku Milieu at 8 p.m. Friday, May 10 at The Venue in Aurora.















Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.