Monday, November 24, 2014

Poems While You Wait

I turned a corner in the crowded Randolph Street Market yesterday, and almost ran right into “Poems While You Wait”, a group of poets, five yesterday, who routinely makes the Market/Charity Event/Art Festival circuit, or so I was told. Sadly, I had never heard of them before.They directed me to their Tumblr here for more detailed information.

Never mind what they were actually doing. Writing poetry on the spot for a $5.00 donation. The fact that they set up a makeshift writing shop on simple cafe tables, used only vintage manual typewriters, with real typing paper, almost gave me the thrill chills. 

My daughter even responded, “This is so cool!” 

It is! And it was!!!

Of course, my daughter also thought the typewriters were prehistoric. But to me, it felt like a comforting sigh, so nostalgic. I received one right before I left for college, typed all my term papers on it, changed the ribbons, and fixed type bars. It probably would have been wise, at the time, to purchase stock in “White Out”.

So this is the concept of “Poems While You Wait” (taken directly from their Tumblr):

Step 1
We show up ~ with Royal, Smithy, & Olly.
Step 2
You show up ~ with your poetry topic ~ & for a suggested donation of $5 commission an original poem from us.
Step 3
You go away ~ this is the “wait” part of Poems While You Wait.
Step 4
You return ~ 15-20 minutes later ~ & retrieve the poem we typed out for you.
Step 5
You go away again ~ this time with an artifact, a souvenir, a gift from us to you & from you to who-knows-who, a memory of an unpretentious human interaction which resulted in … fun, which is just another word for poetry.
  • 100% of proceeds go to support the non-profit literary publisher Rose Metal Press

Here’s a picture from yesterday:

The topic on the sheet ahead of mine was “He proposed to me on a horse. He is allergic to horses.” This made me laugh, but what a great poem this will be!!!

Here are a few examples I pulled off their Tumblr page:

Love them!!!

Mine are clever and quirky and will become framed gifts, and I am so excited to give them. Maybe more than anything else.

The best part of this for me???

See Step 5.

Unpretentious human interaction!!!!! A special gift. FUN!!!!!

I am going to stalk them.


Jack said...

Every one needs a good stalker. :) I miss the sound of the typewriter more than I miss the unit itself. Although every now and then I think about taking mine out to write with again.

Gina said...

I don't mind being stalked so long as I like the stalker! I miss the tap, tap, tap, too. It was like music to my ears yesterday. A sight for sore eyes. Familiar.

Vanessa D. said...

It sounds like a fun way to raise money for a cause. I can't imagine typing on an old manual typewriter - nor can I imagine not being able to just backspace to fix an error.

Gina said...

You had to tap somewhat aggressively to make sure you got consistent strikes of the keys. Fun times! I lied above because I was reminded that in college, I received an electric typewriter from my parents as well. Oops! Made correcting much easier because the backspace key also erased. With the manual, you had to hold a piece of white out paper against the typed letter you wanted to erase, back space, then type the same key to strike it out (with the white). A big hassle, for sure, but oh so, nostalgic!!!

Kir said...

Where did my comment go?

I was saying how much I loved this, how creative, interesting and intriguing it is to be able to raise money and still do something you love. I want to do this in my city/community.

Thank you for sharing it with us. I'm so glad you got to experience it. XO

Jamie Miles said...

Oh how fun. The joys of living in the city. I follow some of the fabulous youth poetry movements in Chicago -- Louder Than a Bomb, et al. How fun for you and what a great idea. Maybe I could tweak this for another way to raise funds for my Ronald McDonald House venture.

Dee said...

That is such a fabulous idea. Oh gosh, your post brings back so many memories for me, too. I sure miss my old typewriter. Happy Thanksgiving to you... :)

Gina said...

Amidst the crowd, the poets were so focused on their writing. The level of concentration, not to mention creativity, was amazing! This would be a cool thing to do at a church function, or maybe an adult school event.

I am excited to see them again in a few weeks at a market called Dose. I would maybe like one of the guys to write my next poem!

Gina said...

I loved it! And I love living in the city, too! If you could scrounge up some poets, it would be an awesome addition to your fundraising efforts! Maybe, if not poetry, a flash fiction piece? I'm going to check out Louder Than a Bomb now. I am also getting ready to start volunteering at a fantastic local (used) bookstore here in town called Open Books. I would aid middle school aged kids with their creative writing (and possibly younger children with reading). Love the opportunities!

Gina said...

I had a major flashback when I heard them typing before I realized what they were actually doing. If I know my parents, that old thing could very well be in their basement (unless, though I don't recall, I sold it for the cash). Thanks for visiting, Dee!!!

Kenya G. Johnson said...

That is so cool! I'd be so stressed out to have that job - writing a poem in less than 15 - 20 mins. Have you heard of Hanx Writer? It's an app that you can use on the iPad and the screen looks like a typewriter and you get the sounds of the ping returns and the keys. I haven't played with it in a while but it is so neat. I'll set up an external keyboard which you can do with the phone or iPad and in heaven at the sound of nostalgia. Who knew we would ever want that?