A recently-aired piece on NPR featured a poetry project unlike any other.
The Poetry Society of American and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority formed what some might call an unlikely partnership in this latest endeavor to make poetry more accessible to the masses. A group of over twenty poets were stationed at different public transit stops throughout the city, armed with their typewriters and their improvisational creativity. Commuters on their way to work and visitors sightseeing in NYC were all able to stop and speak with the poets; based on these encounters, the poets composed short pieces that the commuters could then take with them as they went on their way.
New York’s state poet laureate Marie Howe was the creator of this unique project. Her goal was to increase the number of people whose lives are touched by poetry on a daily basis and to get people to start thinking more about verse as an art form. By providing poetry to people even as they ran about the city to work, do errands, and visit family, the poets who participated in this project grew one step closer to making poetry another part of people’s daily routines.
Can You Become a Commuter Poet?
Many people who want to write poetry find that it is difficult to establish time to sit down and write. It’s understandable, of course; people lead busy lives that do not often leave time available to sit down and draft a poem. But if you get a little bit creative, you may be able to take advantage of the time provided by your commute to work to get a little writing in! If you frequently use public transportation such as buses or trains to get to work, you can use the time you spent on your ride writing your next piece. If you drive to work, use the time you spend stuck in traffic to think up potential subjects for your poems; any little bit of the pre-writing process you can fit in to your drive will help!
You can also become a commuter poet by writing about the things you see and experience on your commute. What about your own drive to work do you find beautiful? Interesting? Unique? No matter what it is, chances are it will make for a creative new poem idea!
If you like what you write, consider submitting it to our poetry contest and show your work to the world!