“Would you like to read a poem by a famous poet sometime later today,” are the opening words of a dialogue between a poet distributing a poem and a person she doesn’t know in grocery store lines, in elevators, checking out at a big box store, in line at the bank. What follows frequently are moments of connection between the poem and its reader that touches something joyful, painful, funny, powerful in their lives. Partly it comes from the unexpectedness of receiving an unusual gift - a poem - and in an unexpected moment and place. The reader is not looking for it, studying it, researching it. The poem just shows up. And the reader chooses to receive it.
In this way, I have distributed 12,000 poems a year, mostly in Philadelphia, and the results have been amazing. Responding to a poem by Jane Kenyon about happiness, people say, “How did you know I needed this poem today?” Reading the first few lines of Tony Hoagland’s poem “The Word,” about adding sunshine to the to-do list, readers have spurted out that they are moved enough to take the advice.
This website hopes to spread the wealth of a simple moment with a single poem. It hopes to do this by sharing poems that have been successful in being received by readers in this brief moment of interchange. The site also will share the process that I have developed that has made people want to accept and read the poem. I hope others may want to share in this endeavor. All you need is a poem, a photocopier, and a little courage.
More coming soon.
For more information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org