Poetry 4 Free Update

Today I wrote my 50th po­em in my Poetry 4 Free project. It’s been great fun so far; de­spite the heavy mock­ing from my cowork­ers and the ob­vi­ous & un­spo­ken doubt­ful­ness from cer­tain folks I know, it has ful­filled, at least in part, all of the goals I had in mind when I start­ed this back in April.

I’m def­i­nite­ly less afraid to write. I have be­come much bet­ter at tak­ing a top­ic and start­ing to write on it im­me­di­ate­ly. I think the po­ems I pro­duce in 5 – 10 min­utes could be deemed fair for that time frame. I’ve got­ten in­to a few ruts though, and have been try­ing to change up my meth­ods in or­der to keep things fresh. I don’t want to be a po­em fac­to­ry, so the rep­e­ti­tion is a bad from which I am at­tempt­ing to draw some good.

I re­ceived open-armed per­mis­sion from the won­der­ful folks at the Cleveland Public Library to set up every Friday in the Eastman Reading Garden, and post-fac­to bene­dic­tion from the la­dy who man­ages Star Plaza for Playhouse Square Development. I didn’t re­al­ize it wasn’t a pub­lic park.

Lots of peo­ple give the side-eye, few­er stop for a po­em, and, it seems, a large ma­jor­i­ty of the folks that do stop are in­ter­est­ed in telling a sto­ry about the dude with the hand-paint­ed sign and a type­writer. The first was a post on Captured Cleveland. Dan Moulthrop from Civic Commons stopped by for a po­em and tweet­ed about it. A fel­low writ­ing for Edible Cleveland want­ed to put a blurb about me in an ar­ti­cle on Walnut Wednesdays. A col­lage artist asked to use my po­em & pho­to in one of her works. My friend David Jurca even stopped by and took some video one day. Another day, an­oth­er fel­low did so.


I’ve had sev­er­al folks ask for po­ems as gifts, and a few re­turn to tell me how much the po­em was ap­pre­ci­at­ed. I’ve had sad and poignant re­quests from es­tranged hus­bands, sweet re­quests from lov­ing wives, sil­ly re­quests and chal­leng­ing ones. I’ve writ­ten about every­thing from mor­tal­i­ty to anal bleach­ing. I once ac­cept­ed a sil­ver dime as a tip, and I still feel vague­ly guilty about that.

I’m hav­ing a blast, even on days when I get skunked. But I’m al­so start­ing to sense that the cur­rent sta­tus quo isn’t as ful­fill­ing as it once was. I may need fresh ground to cov­er (I plan on set­ting up shop in Lincoln Park dur­ing the Arts in August events), or I may just be feel­ing too at ease with the par­a­digm. I’m open to sug­ges­tions about how to shuf­fle the project in dif­fer­ent ways, and I’m very in­ter­est­ed in fur­ther ways that I can make it less about me. One thing I need to do is write po­et­ry out­side of this project. I’ve been very pro­lif­ic for me, but the prac­tice has re­sult­ed in lit­tle ac­tu­al po­et­ry game time. Another change to be con­scious of.

You can fol­low this project on Twitter @Poetry4Free; find out where I’ll be and stop by for a po­em. I hope you will.

4 thoughts on “Poetry 4 Free Update

  1. Hi Adam, No Matter What, keep writ­ing. Ask passerby’s for a sug­ges­tion, then re­turn in 10 min­utes for the po­em. Or Maybe 2 – 3 peo­ple to­geth­er, and each does a line. Good luck and will def­i­nite­ly stop by for a po­em

  2. Hi John! Thanks for the kind words. I’m on­ly out and about for my lunch hour. Probably eas­i­est to find me in the Reading Garden. I’ll keep an eye out!

  3. what time are you down there? I might swing by on the lunch­break some­time…

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