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.

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

such a good idea…

May 5, 2015

Poetry in Motion: The Poet Is In

It’s over, so don’t get too excited, but oh, to have been there… When poets leave their nests, typewriter in hand, anything can happen. For lucky New Yorkers who happened through Fulton Center between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. on April 23, it was Poetry in Motion: The Poet is IN.

During those hours, with musical accompaniment, “an array of award-winning poets, including NY State Poet Laureate Marie Howe, Pulitzer Prize-winner Sharon Olds, and Bob Holman, founder of the Bowery Poetry Café, will sit in a booth (inspired by Lucy’s booth from the Peanuts comic strip) and write poems for those who request one.” Sponsored/produced by the Poetry Society of America in partnership with the MTA Arts & Design, the day’s events were part of MTA’s Poetry in Motion program, which, since 1992, has been placing poems in subway and rail cars, on kiosks, on the back of MetroCards and elsewhere.

Read more on the MTA site or listen to the story from NPR.

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!
. . . . .

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]
. . . . .
Underwood QWERTY keyboard

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