poem index

Put some poetry in an unexpected place

Year

2004
Put some poetry in an unexpected place
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"In my view, books should be brought to the doorstep like electricity, or like milk in England: they should be considered utilities, and their cost should be appropriately minimal. Barring that, poetry could be sold in drugstores (not least because it might reduce the bill from your shrink). At the very least, an anthology of American poetry should be found in the drawer of every room in every motel in the land, next to the Bible, which will surely not object to this proximity, since it does not object to the proximity of the phone book." — Joseph Brodsky, "An Immodest Proposal"

As a result of these remarks and in conjunction with Brodsky, Andrew Carroll founded The American Poetry and Literacy Project to distribute free books of poetry in unlikely locations. APLP has placed poetry in schools, hotels, subway and train stations, hospitals, jury waiting rooms, supermarkets, truck stops, day-care centers, airports, zoos, and phone books nationwide.

Today, take Brodsky’s words to heart. Leave a copy of a poem in an unexpected place. Donate some poetry books to your local coffee shop or leave them in your doctor’s waiting room. (All those magazines are probably out-of-date anyway, and poetry doesn't expire.) Post a poem beside the want ads on your supermarket message board. You could even release one of your poetry books into the wild through BookCrossing and watch it travel around the world. Maybe someday you'll be pleasantly surprised when you find a poem that someone else has left in an unexpected place.