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!


On a hot July day, I met my friend on the patio of a pub in Harvard Square. The waitress told us that before coming on shift, she had been making t-shirts. We asked questions: what types? just for fun or for a business? She described some of her designs and we were intrigued.

The Stranger: Christina

Her Word: Catastrophe

The poem I wrote:

Well aren’t you /

a catastrophe /

whirling past /

like summer /

in your blue dress –

and look at you

/ still paying

/ in blue and whist

/ for every other

world / you chose against


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