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

Share your poem on this week’s word!


Ballet Idaho puts on superb dance performances, the kind where the world on-stage eclipses everything else because of how wholly the dancers inhabit their roles. I ran into Andrew, one of their principal dancers, when I was at a café getting ready for class. We chatted about the making of art and the odd side-hustles so many creative people must embrace.

The Stranger: Andrew

The Word: Aplomb

The poem I wrote:

Whether the washing
of windows,

humility streaming

in the uneclipsed sun,
or the dance

and its searing
fairy tales,

with aplomb we try
not to fall

even if the world
seems all edges:

Let’s face it, work
is sexy and everything

roots down
in what we make

and with what
labor we love.

The Challenge: Do you have a poem in you on this word? Write one here.