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: Unrequited

June 5, 2013, 9:55 am

Even though I am no gardener, I decided to buy myself a striped gardening hat from a shop at the San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace. The woman working the checkout told me that she is requiring her book club to read poetry – and not only that – she has rented a karaoke machine for each member to perform a poem. Short of moving to San Francisco to join her book club, the next sensible thing was to write her a poem.

The Stranger: Mary Lee more »

The word: Cannibalize

May 29, 2013, 9:33 am

I interviewed Dwayne Blackaller, Educational Director and Associate Artist at Boise Contemporary Theater, for an upcoming article in Greenbelt Magazine – and I found him so compelling, the conversation so crackling with interesting digressions, that I was curious to know what single word he would choose for a poem –

The Stranger: Dwayne more »

The word: Atlatl

May 22, 2013, 10:32 am

While having tea in the backyard with my friend-with-twin-sons, I learned that her twins’ newest pastime is to make atlatls out of twigs and duct tape. Two neighborhood friends, sisters aged 10 and 8, were also visiting. I asked the sisters for a word.

The Strangers: Lucy and Ruby more »

The word: Healthy

May 15, 2013, 11:30 am

While riding my bicycle home from downtown, I stopped by a tent near St. Luke’s Hospital. It turns out this week is their healthcare week and I had stumbled upon their employee barbecue. At one table a Nurse Educator was leading an exercise booth. After doing ten squats with her, I asked her for a word.

The Stranger: Norma more »

The word: Apiary

May 8, 2013, 9:52 am

When Brian moved to Idaho, he began pursuing a hobby fulltime: beekeeping.

When my daughter and I stopped by his market stand for Katie Bee honey, Brian taught us about bees: how honey gets released from the comb, how queens shrink when they age, how the other bees smother the old queen when they have a new one ready. (“Does she fight it,” I asked, “after having them do her bidding for so long?” “No,” Brian answered. “She won’t know what’s going on.”)

My daughter and I tasted the honey – it was delicious.

The Stranger: Brian more »

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