Is it Tuesday? Every Tuesday a new poem appears in the box and on the blog.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Welcome to Poem in a Box, a project to share poems with neighbors and passersby. Every Tuesday, a new poem will appear in the poem box in front of my house. My hope is that lots of people will grab a copy of each week's poem as they walk past.

Here on the blog, I will write a little bit about the poem and post links for people who would like to read more about the poem/poet. Eventually, I hope to take requests for poems for the box. We'll see how it goes.

As you might have guessed, I love poetry. I am an English teacher and a writer, and I have always believed that people think they dislike poetry way more than they actually do. The idea for this project came to me while walking through my neighborhood. I walked past a house with a plastic box with red letters across the front: Information. The box was empty. Usually, we see those info boxes alongside realtor's signs, but this house didn't seem to be for sale. I felt a visceral sort of enjoyment in imagining what kind of information might be available there in the front yard. Information. Could be anything.

Then I began to see those sweet little free library boxes show up. It occurred to me that maybe people don't want a whole book. Maybe the information I could give out could be poems. So, with a nod to Justin Timberlake, Poem in a Box was born.

Ultimately, the project is for pure enjoyment. Please feel free to post comments about anything related to the project here on the blog. I look forward to hearing from you and keeping the box filled with poems.

First Poem

"Under a Certain Little Star" by Wislawa Szymborska

Szymborska just died on February 1 of this year, and I thought I should start this project by honoring her, truly one of the greatest poets of the 20th century. If you'd like to learn more about her, here's a link:

Here's a nice link to a story from NPR which mentions this poem (in a different translation):

Soon, I'll learn how to make hyperlinks on here. I promise.

Enjoy the poem. If you have questions or comments about it, post them. I love this poem because it illustrates so beautifully the space between the individual and the world, the ways in which we all share suffering, but not at the same time or in the same way. As the best poems do, it raises difficult questions, but does so lightly. "Forgive me, far-off wars, for carrying my flowers home" seems about as apt a description of the ways most of us experience war from safe lands as I've ever read. Killer poem. Buy her books. Enjoy.

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