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!


Through my sister-in-law, I met Alanna, one of the most organized, dedicated readers I have ever met. We had a fun conversation and I learned that she was reading several histories of the Vikings.

The Stranger: Alanna

The Word: Quixotic

The poem I wrote:

Each year on the boat
reconstructs us: we are just
wooden planks but each year
they fit less evenly. We wish
for easy joining, one of many
quixotic wishes that men
on boats make. We name
landmarks as we meet them,
and each year we forget further
the name of our home. But
skol! One day we’ll land,
build fixed shelters and tell
all the young ones that we
have been enchanted, too.

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