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!


One of my favorite contemporary writers is Benjamin Percy. I’ve taught one of his stories, “Refresh, Refresh,” for six years; it grows with each discussion. So I was thrilled this past week when Ben Percy came to Boise State and I got to hear him read from his new book, Red Moon, a thriller (about werewolves) that is set in the American West.

The Stranger: Ben 

His Word: Fang

The poem I wrote:

I dwell in a place of rock, near owls
who live in cliffs and build nests
for their young, their riotous
nighttime bodies supported
by nothing: just air. And who
will support me when I turn
to dust like all the rest? Like any
animal I search the ground
for imperfect bodies of food,
and I dig my fangs hard
into any twitching thing: then
I soar up high, holding on tight
to air, to wind, to absolutely nothing.

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