Colorado Poets Center E-Words Issue #10

Results of “Poetry While You Wait”

(Aaron Anstett)

CPC asked Aaron Anstett, Pikes Peak Poet Laureate, about last year’s project for putting poetry in public places and we print his response.

“Last year’s Poetry While You Wait project was such a success, we're doing it again. In fact, I'm just starting to review the 2010 submissions.

Last January, a call went out through local media for El Paso and Teller County residents.

Aarib AbstettWe asked them to send us up to five poems, 30 lines or less, resulting in a little over 1,000 poems by 400 people.

The end result was a collection of 40 poems. The authors included former Colorado Poet Laureate and Colorado Springs resident, Nellie Burget Miller (who died in 1952) and work from area poets including grade-school children, active military personnel, an inmate, retirees, and professors. [Colorado Poets included Lois Beebee Hayna, Jane Hilberry, David Mason, Jim Ciletti, Jessy Randall, Stephen Schroeder, and Soham Patel.  CPC]

Three-thousand copies of a chapbook were printed and distributed for free throughout the region, including to doctors', dentists', attorneys', and accountants' offices; emergency rooms; barbershops and hair salons; oil change places; college financial aid offices; and all kinds of other places people wait.

Additionally, the poems were printed on broadsides hung in store windows, at shopping malls, and in a display at the Colorado Springs Airport. The poems were also printed on table tents and left on mall food court tables and in coffee shops and restaurants.
Every day in April, KRCC, the local independent station, broadcast a poem read by its author, and videos of the poets reading were broadcast on the library's cable channel.

The chapbook, broadside, and table tent design, printing, and distribution occurred through a donation and volunteer effort as did the radio and video recording and broadcasting.

The poems and bios from last year are all posted here.

Even a year later, I still hear from people telling me they read the chapbook in a doctor's office, or saw the display at the airport, or one of the many places they were available.”