Poetry for Strangers is about finding inspiration in the chance encounters of everyday life. PFS suggests that every person can be the “muse” of a poem. Each week I ask a stranger for a single word and write a poem inspired by the word. I invite you to do the same.

Share your poem on this week’s word!


The word: Birth

February 20, 2013, 7:14 am

Hi all,

I’ve been trying to make many of my heavy paper files digital, and this week’s stranger helped me with a beast of a scanning project. I asked her for a word, and it turned into a great conversation.

The stranger: Becca works at my local library and is having a baby in just a few weeks.

Her word: Birth more »

The word: Excitement

February 13, 2013, 9:51 am

Hi friends,

How is your start to February going? Quiet, exciting, something else? Recently I’ve been meeting more interesting strangers than I could possibly write poems for. Here is one…

The stranger: Pat, who works at the delicious Cornerstone Bistro in Caldwell, ID, and who has a palpable sense of hope and joy about him. more »

The word: Sugar

February 6, 2013, 9:07 am

Happy start to February!

I had the good luck to be in McCall during winter festival, where artists compete to carve the best statue out of snow, and where you can just feel the end of Mardi Gras. I stopped in for coffee and salted-caramel cheesecake at Stacey Cakes Bakery, where I met:

The stranger: Stacey more »

The word: Ebullient

January 30, 2013, 6:51 pm

Hello friends,

Where I live, in Boise, we’ve had several hard snows – last week we were iced slick in, and the gray skies, too low, were bearing down on us. To cheer myself up, I went to see …

The stranger: Gregory, who gives a mean Thai massage. I like to see him in January, when it feels like a purification. more »

The word: Aardvark

January 23, 2013, 7:55 am

Dear everybody,

Week three and the words keep coming…and your poems do too! Thank you for writing and sharing them.

The stranger: I met Seiya, age eleven and quadrilingual, when he came for tea with his mother, my new friend. He settled right down onto my sofa, reading the Oxford English Dictionary and calling out unusual words.

His word: Aardvark

more »

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