Back in 1982, maybe 1983, as the story goes, Anne Herbert wrote “practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty” on a Sausalito restaurant place mat. The notion, which was later the subject of a book, sparked a wave of countless acts of kindness and generosity, small acts intended to bring cheer from helping a person in need to buying coffee for a stranger. The effect, as you may know, is contagious in a “pay it forward” sort of way, one random act leading to another, an effort that stands in stark contrast to the phrase from which it likely turns, the tragic and random acts of violence.
A Random Act of Poetry, while an act of kindness in its way, is just as random but with a bit of focus, aimed at bringing beauty into our world by painting poetry in the public square (both literally and figuratively). What would happen if you left a poem next to the coffee machine for the next unsuspecting person who takes a break where you work? Or if you tucked a poem into the box of bagels you drop off for your favorite teachers? Or maybe, in the spirit of Herbert’s first public act, you left a poem written on the place mat or napkin on the restaurant table after lunch?
There are those who will say that poetry saved them. Maybe poetry in the general sense, maybe a single poem in the particular. (I might be one of them.) What if the poem you left lying around somewhere (in a random sort of way) became, for someone, just such a poem? What if it just made someone smile, for a brief minute?
It could happen.
Commit a Random Act of Poetry
Share poetry with the world (your world) today, on Random Acts of Poetry Day. Download our little e-booklet of ideas or generate a random idea of your own. We’d love to see what you do, so post your random act on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #raopoetryday ( follow us on Twitter at @tspoetry and Instagram at @tspoetry). Come back tomorrow and we’ll have a fun wrap-up featuring our favorite Random Acts of Poetry that we saw.
I got a head start and already dropped off some poems over the last few days, leaving Donna Vorreyer’s “How to Start Again” for the housekeeper in a Nebraska hotel room and a piece of Antonio Machado’s “Proverbs and Songs” No. 29 on a curb and some person’s dirty windshield.
Need Poems to Share? Try Some of These
Share News of the Day with a Friend Now
• includes a poem, ready-to-go
• includes a download link to the free poster
• includes a download link to the free ebooklet of random poetry ideas
• you can share straight to your friend’s inbox
this is what you’ll be sharing, but it will be a nice inbox delivery 🙂
Photo by Michelle Ortega, used with permission. Post by LW Lindquist.
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