Typewriter Troubadour by Andrea Corradini

Now and then we like to update you on the practice of making poetry in public that has rescued typewriters from extinction and given voice to numerous poets. Here are a few additions to the list:

What’s happening on your keyboard?

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Typewriter Troubadour photo by Andrea Corradini

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more fun with typewriters

December 9, 2014

Typewriter Poetry

We’ve posted before on the subject of have-typewriter-will-poem. This sort of free-range poem-making is giving a second life to a lot of sidelined typewriters, putting a few dollars into the pockets of poets and bringing personalized poetry to people who might never expect such a thing. Here are a few additions to the poem-makers:

  • Billimarie, pictured above, travels around with her pink Royal and blogs at Typewriter Poetry.
  • Matthew Rowe conducts his improvisational poetry performances at art gallery openings, monthly art walks, book releases, author’s readings, craft and farmers’ markets, weddings, birthday parties and other social gatherings and private events in Seattle. Find him at Poem Shop.
  • William Curtis and Trip Waterhouse ply their trade at the farmers markets in the U District and Ballard (Seattle) and at Capitol Hill bars in the evening. Read Danielle Palmer-Friedman’s article about them in The Daily and see more about William the Poet.
  • Ryan Ashley Knowles and his Smith-Corona make poems around the San Francisco area. Find out more at Untouched Poetry.
  • Abigail Mott has given up her blue and white Underwood for a Smith-Corona and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for Denver, Colorado, but she’s still typing out new poems and posting some of them on Pick a Subject, Get a Poem.

Happy typing!
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photo

Underwood keyboardThe affinity between typewriters and poetry is well established. While, for a while, the manual keyboards seemed on their way to dinosaurhood, the combined appeal of portability and hard copy has inspired a wave of nouveau typists. We’ve covered this topic before (for example, Bellingham’s Poem Store and Poems for sale) and here are a few more chapters in the story.

Jacqueline Suskin has taken her typewriter big time with The Poem Store. In addition to weekly appearances at the Hollywood (CA) and Yamashiro farmers markets, she can be booked to create spontaneous typed poetry for private parties, weddings, fundraisers, festivals and other special events.

Rio Jones prefers a more anonymous approach. The pen-named poet posts his typed poems on Instagram, where he has a vigorous following. (Here’s an article about him in the Huffington Post.)

We’ve written previously about Maya Stein. This summer she is joined by Amy Tingle and a pair of typewriters for TYPE RIDER II: The Tandem Poetry Tour, “a month-long, 1,400-mile trip we will take by tandem bicycle from Boulder, Colorado, to Beloit, Wisconsin. We’ve partnered with Little Free Library, a Wisconsin nonprofit promoting literacy and a love of reading, to help build and install at least 20 free community book exchanges along our route.” Learn more about their adventures on their website, Food 4 the Soul Train.

Finally, more for fun than for poetry, there’s the Boston Typewriter Orchestra.

What’s your typewriter doing this summer?

P.S.: Dean Kahn, of The Bellingham Herald, comments: “Would love to hear from local writers who still use a typewriter instead of newer alternatives.” If you qualify, contact Dean.Kahn[at]bellinghamherald.com.
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Underwood QWERTY keyboard

projects we love

April 11, 2018

Here’s a heartwarming project that came by way of a forwarded email.

At Oakton Elementary, in Oakton, Virginia (Fairfax County), Andrew Relihan’s 6th-grade class has opened a Poem Store. Inspired by a visit to Bellingham and the typewriter performance work of Erica Reed and Natalie Fedak, Mr. Relihan’s class invites people to suggest a topic, provide a mailing or email address, and then “Pick your price: Once you have thoroughly enjoyed your custom made poem we ask you to pay what it was worth to you (not to exceed $5).” They created a Google form for the orders and a dedicated page for payments.

Andrew Relihan explains: “The funds collected from our Poem Store will go toward buying the materials needed to build a middle school for the community of Tres Reyes in Honduras. The community’s school currently only has room for students up to 6th grade and will give those students a chance to continue their education! This effort will be carried out by Students Helping Honduras and the One Thousand School initiative.” Relihan spent a week last summer helping bring La Escuela Yolanda Melindez in Santa Rita one step closer to its completion (officially opened January 2018), working alongside members of the community, both young and old, stacking bricks, mixing cement, and sharing stories and meals with each other.

In an email received yesterday, Mr. Relihan says, Monday “was the first day that students worked on ‘filling orders.’ They were a little overwhelmed at the prospect of writing for an actual audience, but it was clear that they were motivated to put their best work down on paper. They will have the rest of the week to work on filling orders during our Language Arts block, and I’d imagine that a few students would be motivated to continue filling orders in their free time (assuming we have anyone who comes to the table late).”

To support this wonderful National Poetry Month project, click on the Google form link and name your topic!

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image

It’s National Poetry Month and the city of Woodstock, Illinois, is going all out, thanks to the inspired leadership of the Atrocious Poets. A poetry collective of “writers, accidental typewriter connoisseurs, and appreciators of the offbeat who look for ways to bring poetry into the streets of this strange and beautiful town,” Atrocious Poets are creating a month-long celebration of poetry, using the verse of Illinois native Carl Sandburg as theme and inspiration.

Events include discussions, workshops, readings, writings, a guided poetry walk, poetry displays, poetry “in the wild” (in shop windows, hanging from tree branches, on coffee sleeves, on restaurant menus), and much more. There will also be a collaborative poem: “Look for our typewriters around town, and stop and add a line or two to OUR poem.”

More Atrocious Poets on Facebook, Twitter @atrocious_poets, and Instagram.

Atrocious Poets, we like your attitude!

keys-a-clacking

March 6, 2018

It has been a while since we mentioned typewriter poetry, but here’s a terrific addition to the collection: a program for youth, grades 7 to 12, at the Newton, Massachusetts, Free Library. Once a month, Typewriter Poetry group members gather to compose poems for visiting library patrons. See more in Wicked Local Newton.

and speaking of obsession…

December 6, 2017

We recently posted about the film California Typewriter. Then, purely by chance, we stumbled across Pop Chart Lab, a Brooklyn-based company that researches, designs, and prints posters on a dazzling array of topics, including typewriters!

That’s not their only venture into the literary. Pop Chart also features A Pop Culture Primer on Parts of Speech, A Plotting of Fiction Genres, A Diagrammatical Dissertation on Opening Lines of Notable Novels, and a Sentence Diagram Set, among many, many others.

Visit Pop Chart Lab online, on Facebook, on Instagram, and all the other places.

now showing

November 26, 2017

The subject of typewriters, and especially the poets who favor them in public, has been a recurring theme here at The Poetry Department. Poetry on film is another. While the new documentary California Typewriter does not purport to be about poetry (it does include poets Silvi Alcivar and Darren Wershler), it celebrates a favored writing tool as object, muse, and even obsession. The Los Angeles Times calls the film “rich, thoughtful, meticulously crafted.” California Typewriter is screening in theaters nationwide.

Reasons to go to…

May 9, 2017

If you are interested in concrete and visual poetry, you may want to plan a trip to Miami this winter. November 17, 2017 through April 15, 2018, The Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) will present From the truer world of the other: Typewriter Art from the PAMM Collection. In 2016, PAMM acquired over 400 language-based works from the 70,000+ piece collection of the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry. The upcoming exhibition explores the experimental visual and poetic typewriter creations of approximately 15 artists, including Carl Andre, Henri Chopin, Dom Sylvester Houédard, d.a. levy, and Françoise Mairey.

See this 2014 Poetry Department post for additional informative links about the Sackner collection.

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image: Dom Sylvester Houédard. from the truer world of the other (dsh 720113), 1972. Typewriting on paper, 13 x 8 inches. Collection Pérez Art Museum Miami, acquired from The Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

get it write

February 10, 2017

Mindport Correspondence Club

Is correspondence with politicians, local organizations, far flung friends, on your list right now? Need info about size and postage requirements when making your own postcards? Need supplies? Typewriters? Mindport’s Correspondence Club meets Saturday, February 11, 2017, 10:30am-12:30pm, 210 W. Holly St. in Bellingham. Bring your addresses and postage, they supply the rest!

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