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!


Finally, I bought a piece of his art.

I’ve admired his paintings for three years now, three seasons of Boise’s Art in the Park. Finally this year I went home with a triptych to go above my fireplace. It consists of three canvases connected by a drip of wine – from the bottle (on the top canvas) through the table (the middle canvas) and onto the head of an unsuspecting dog (bottom). The title: “Worst Case Scenario.”

The Stranger: Paul Sloan

His Word: Recalcitrant

The poem I wrote:

If it has a heart that beats

killing isn’t simple (true).
There are too many of us here
(true): we all want

to make something lasting
(t/f). There are ways to get around
having a heart that beats
but none of them are worth it (t/f).

We’d like to cooperate with you
instead of being only bare
hands and mischief, recalcitrant
makers alone on our homesteads
(false, false, false).


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