Stow-away poetry is a way to share what you write and remain anonymous. But that’s just a tiny part of it. It’s simple: you write a poem, put it in an envelope, and leave it in a public place for someone to find. Anything else is up to you. You can join the stow-away poetry group on Facebook, you can make your own poems to leave.
I have no idea what the copyright law is about copying someone’s poetry and leaving it in public, even with attribution. There, I’ve said that. I must admit, I take the risk. My inner artist also likes me to dress up the poem to make it easy to see. There are a lot of different ways to do it: a decorative envelope, pretty paper, calligraphy. Here’s one I did filling in letters with colors. The complete poem appears on the back. It’s by William Stafford.
Stow-away poetry became something I began when I went back to school to become a poetry therapist. Our class began by writing poetry to do some personal healing. Healing is a powerful benefit of writing poetry. (If you want to know more about poetry as therapy, contact me through my other website contact page.)
Even better is writing your own poetry. Never written a poem? Anyone can. They don’t have to rhyme, they don’t have to have a certain rhythm or beat. Poetry can be short, meaningful and to the point. Here is an example from my classmate Barbara London.
Listening to the Morning News
Animals kill each other
Humans kill each other
and talk about it.
Short poems take effort. You have to take out all the extra words and be careful about choosing the right ones to use. Few words make each word do a lot of work and require picking and choosing. But the result is powerful.
I’m thinking of holding a poetry-writing online workshop. I want more poetry in the world; it’s so satisfying to write and participate. If you are interested (no, it’s not a promise to take the class), leave a comment. Let me know if you would take an online poetry class. If you want, tell me how you like to use online classes–once a week, everything at once, with an in-person part–whatever makes you feel involved and creative.
—Quinn McDonald is studying to become a poetry therapist. She is a writer who teaches writing.