Poetry Experience vs. Environment

Like Isabel mentioned in her post a few weeks back about Guerrilla’s display at the Fringe Festival, I’ve also been thinking about poetry in different ways; specifically, I’ve been thinking on the interaction words have with their environment.

One of the things Guerrilla tries to do is put poems in unconventional places -bathroom stalls, trees, chalked on the ground, etc., – to make poetry more a part of everyone’s daily lives, and surprise poetry* is a side effect of that. When we’re not expecting to encounter poetry, does it mean something different to us? And how is the environment altered?

In my experience, I’ve found myself having a stronger connection to poems when I’ve stumbled on them accidentally. There’s something about surprise poetry that really strikes me in a way I’m not sure the poem would have been able to accomplish on its own.  It’s like how words graffitied on a wall sometimes seem more profound than if you were to be reading them in a book.

But the environment is altered too.  Poetry becomes an agent of change, in how its presence can take something ordinary – a wall of a building, a sidewalk, a public restroom – and give it meaning past its intended purpose. A bathroom stall becomes more than just a bathroom stall when there’s a poem in it. (I also just really love reading poetry while I pee, but that’s me)


*This makes me think of poetry ninjas. Which would be awesome.


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