Poetry in the World

Once a poem is sent out into the world it takes on a life of its own. Sometimes the poem is on the page, painted on the ground, in film, art, or music. It belongs to whoever has requested it, whoever needs it, receives it, and ripples out from there.

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Spontaneous Poetry Booth

Writing poetry isn’t always a solitary act. With the Spontaneous Poetry Booth, I invite the public to sit down and create poetry with me. When someone asks for a poem, I treat it as an emergency request.

I’m trying to see who is in front of me
without exclusions or excuses.

The membrane remembering.

The porous us.
— excerpt from 'The More'

The process is simple: I will ask you two or three questions, and will offer or write you a poem—in five minutes or less. Sometimes the poem works, and sometimes it doesn’t, but either way it captures a moment of reflection for that participant. It invites people into the process of creation and often it can reflect an experience that has not yet been articulated.

The Spontaneous Poetry Booth has been featured at festivals, events, and hospitals. An adapted version of the booth, specific to healthcare, is called Rx for Poetry.

Other Collaborations

Poetry doesn’t need to be contained to the page, sometimes it expands out into the world in unexpected ways. I’m always excited by new opportunities to collaborate with other creators to make some thing new.

As a part of the King Street pilot project, PLANT architects took my poem “The City” and placed it right on the street. The letters were a foot high which meant that reading the poem became a physical act of walking back and forth.

With my book The More, artist Yaara Eshet used my poems as inspiration to create works of art which were featured together in an exhibition at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre. Filmmaker Midi Onodera used the poem “Grief Without Fantasy” to inspire a short which was an official selection at the Toronto Urban Film Festival.

 

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