ideas we like

August 8, 2021

Twenty communities across Ireland have been selected as Poetry Towns for a week-long series of events intended to celebrate the pride, strength and diversity of each locale. More than a hundred events are scheduled for September 10-18, 2021, as part of Poetry Town.

Poetry Ireland, together with its local authority partners, will appoint a Poet Laureate for each participating town. The chosen Poet Laureates, who will either be from the respective local area or have strong connections with it, will be commissioned to write a poem honouring and reflecting their Poetry Town and its people.

Additional activities include events involving local poets, poetry workshops, public poetry displays, including ‘Poetry Underfoot’, and a range of physical activities called ‘Poems that Move You’, which will vary from town to town. Local businesses, including cafés and chemists, will also be participating in the activities to celebrate their towns by distributing ‘pocket poems’ to customers.

Let go, let fly, forget.
You’ve listened long enough. Now strike your note.

Seamus Heaney, Station Island, Part XII

meanwhile, in Buffalo

May 21, 2020

In Buffalo, New York, the doors of the Just Buffalo Literary Center are closed. But poetry is still on view thanks to the new Sidewalk Poetry program. Several times a week, new poems are spray chalked (who knew?) on sidewalks around town. The poets all have a connection to Buffalo, including Lucille Clifton, who grew up there and whose “New Bones” appears above. Nice!

good idea

January 29, 2017

Books On The Subway

It’s hard to say this more clearly than the Books On The Subway site, so we quote…

It’s like a public library, but on the New York Subway.

We go out and leave some of our favorite books on the New York subway. There are new books every day, and they’re there to be taken, read, shared, and most importantly, enjoyed! We want everyone to get involved and fall in love with reading again and we want to make the subway a more friendly and enjoyable experience.

So, if you find a book from us on the subway, feel free to pick it up and take it home with you, but when you’re done, be sure to put it back on the subway for someone else to enjoy.

Launched in 2013 by Rosy Kehdi and Hollie Fraser (Fraser had started Books on the Underground in London a year earlier), BOTS gets books from authors, publishers and ordinary readers. The books are left on benches, or just about anywhere there’s a shelf, and returned when readers have finished them. There are now stickers to identify BOTS books. If the photos are any indication, the offerings seem shy of poetry. So we add this:

Calling all authors & publishers! Please feel free to reach out to us if you would like to send us your books to distribute on the subway. If you would like to get your own sticker to place on your books and distribute, drop us an email to

Read more about Books On The Subway and like them on Facebook.

dial P for Poem

December 4, 2016

Telepoem Booth

Here’s another entry in the Ideas We Love file: the Telepoem Booth. Located in Old Town Shops, Flagstaff, Arizona, the Telepoem Booth is a 1970s vintage phone booth, cleaned up with snappy new signage. Step inside, select one of the 240 poems in the Telepoem Directory, and dial it up on the rotary phone to hear a recorded version.

Well-known published poets (local, national, and international), burgeoning authors, and schoolchildren are included in the Telepoem listings. An average of 120+ poems are dialed every day. Started by Elizabeth Hellstern and launched in March 2016, the project has just completed a second round of submissions for additional poems.

Plus, there’s now another Telepoem Booth — in State College, Pennsylvania! According to an article in the Daily Collegian, this one was launched by John Ziegler, who saw the Flagstaff booth when he was in town visiting his son.

Learn more on the Telepoem Booth website, on Facebook, and on the Telepoem Booth GoFundMe page.

good idea

November 17, 2016

The Floating Library

Here’s one for the Ideas We Love file: The Floating Library. A public art project by artist, writer, and art administrator Sarah Peters, “The Floating Library is a collection of artist-made books and printed matter aboard a raft, on a lake, accessible by boat.”

Come summer, Sarah and her Floating Librarians serve paddlers on a Minnesota lake (different lakes each year) with a selection of circulating and reference material contributed by (or commissioned from) artists nationwide and internationally.

Find out more on The Floating Library website and The Floating Library on Facebook.

Okay, who’s going to organize a floating poetry reading? It’s November…you have plenty of time!

. . . . .

Mathias Svalina delivers

November 11, 2016

Mathias Svalina - Dream Delivery Service

We seem to feel the need for good news…so here’s some.

As close as we can figure, Mathias Svalina is a busy man. Born in Chicago, he is the author of The Wine-Dark Sea (Sidebrow, 2016) (read a review by Greg Bem), Wastoid (Big Lucks Books, 2014), The Explosions (Subito Press, 2012), I Am a Very Productive Entrepreneur (Mud Luscious Press, 2011) and Destruction Myths (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2009). He is an editor for Octopus Books and teaches writing in Denver, Colorado.

Meanwhile, since 2014, Svalina has operated The Dream Delivery Service in Denver. When Sara Renee Marshall interviewed him for the Poetry Society of America, the poet explained:

I take about forty subscribers a month then write & deliver dream poems to them every day. I write the dreams from my imagination. Every day I try to write a unique dream for each subscriber, though I often fall short. For subscribers within a four-mile radius of my home base I deliver the dreams to their doors, biking through the empty city before dawn. For subscribers outside the radius I mail the dreams every day. During the months I deliver dreams I write a lot, bike a lot, & get pretty weird.

Starting this fall through the summer of 2017 Mathias Svalina will be delivering dreams (by bicycle) in other cities, including Richmond, Tucson, Marfa, New Orleans, Chicago, and possibly elsewhere. Go, Mathias! Keep getting weird.

Read Marshall’s interview and see a couple of sample dreams Svalina wrote for the author. There’s also a little more information on Svalina’s Dream Delivery Service site.

poetry, cheap

November 7, 2016


We posted about ‘poemballs’ back in 2013 and are happy the idea has some sticking power (without damaging your fillings). That one was in Chicago; this one is in Provo, Utah, where Provo Poetry installed the first machine at Enliten Bakery and Café and a second on the top floor of Pioneer Book.

The poems are the work of poets who have lived or spent significant time in Utah County (if you’re one, see the latest call for poems). A quarter buys a poem and the money supports the activities of Provo Poetry. According to an article in the Daily Herald, the machines must be fairly popular: Provo Poetry has already used 2,000 of the plastic capsules.

. . . . .

good idea

September 28, 2016

Car Window Poetry

Just when you think every last thing has been done with poetry, there’s Car Window Poetry. Founded in August by Alex Lewis, a recent graduate of Elon University in North Carolina, Car Window Poetry draws on the influences of Taylor Tippett and her “Words from the Window Seat” project, MyIntent, and Chance the Rapper’s Open Mike Nights. Lewis says, “I felt a tugging on my heart to create a project that would tie together several of my passions, give people a platform to express themselves, and inspire others.”

“Car Window Poetry exists to help you make your mark on people’s hearts by sharing your poems on car windows.” You can read more on the Car Window Poetry website, submit your own short poem(s), and follow Car Window Poetry on Facebook and Instagram.

%d bloggers like this: