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!


At a Boise Contemporary Theater gala, we were treated to a preview of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. There were many highlights and I’m eager to see the full show in October. Fashion-wise, Hedwig could rival any one of us in our party clothes. This poem borrows elements from the fairy tale “Jack and the Beanstalk,” which I’ve been a bit obsessed with.

The Stranger: Hedwig (a.k.a. Adam)

The Word: Sequin

The poem I wrote:

Yes, there are places above and
perhaps a hot air balloon
will get you there. If you meet
a man on the road who stares
into the empty sky and asks,
“Beans for your cow?”
you know what he means
is “Ready for this story
to start?” There are always
people who make nothing
beautiful, never having sewn
a sequin or baked a biscuit.
We are not those people,
darling. We believe in beans.

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