Created in 2011, Typewriter Poetry started off as a blog to share typewritten poems based upon poetry prompts sent to me by friends and strangers.
Soon I started traveling around the country to type Free Poetry for strangers. It evolved into a public performance, street art, and busking piece, helping me make new friends and find safe spaces to sleep. I hitchhiked and typed on street corners, at art parties, farmer’s markets, and art walks. Eventually, I gained opportunities to type in various institutions like museums, schools, and tech companies. I’m eternally grateful to all the amazing friends I made throughout California, Oregon, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado.
Original Ethos (2012)
Typewriter Poetry is a transient gift. With public space as the backdrop to intimate conversation, I dance with people, poetry, and performance art to freely pass along That Which Cannot Be Consumed. Replacing monetary and literary value with something a little bit…more, the poet (me!) and the stranger (you!) come together in celebration of all that is human, consciousness, and life.
In other words…I type free poems for people using my vintage typewriter.
I sit somewhere public with a cardboard sign (usually recycled from Corrugated Hearts) that reads “free poems.” Inevitably, someone is bold enough to ask for a poem. We talk, exchange stories, and I write them a poem based off our interaction or a subject of their choosing.
Most poems on this website are “orphans,” or poems whose recipients forgot to pick them up. Occasionally you’ll see a picture or scanned copy of a poem, thanks to a thoughtful reader who decided to email me a copy. For the most part, participants keep the one and only version…a symbolic fit for a project such as this.
With that being said. All poems are first drafts, birthed in abandon without literary consequence. I think that is one of the hardest parts about this project: being comfortable showing others “unrevised works,” something we writers have been taught to keep hidden until it is beaten into perfection. It’s a humbling experience, being surrounded by self-doubt and vulnerability as I challenge the self to remain raw, open, honest, and accepting of flaws.
Feel free to browse the poetry archives for daily typewritten poems and prompts.
There is no fee required for a poem—I am of the radical** belief that art, natural resources, and entertainment can and should be without monetary value—so submit a prompt, today!
** In this case, ‘radical’ referring to the original (and less often used) meaning: to the root of things, to the origin.