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7 Poems Popping Up In Unexpected Places

Poetry isn’t dead—it’s just hiding where readers least expect it.

Beer Cans

Sixpoint Brewery, based in New York, has poems written by everyone from Gary Snyder to John Donne on the backs of their cans, and each one is perfectly thematically in tune. For instance, the Apollo, a summer-seasonal Bavarian Wheat has:

A something in a summer’s Day
As slow her flambeaux burn away
Which solemnizes me.
A something in summer’s noon-
A depth- an Azure- a perfume-
Transcending ecstasy.

-#122, Emily Dickinson

And their Bengali Tiger, a pine- and citrus-heavy IPA, has a snippet of William Blake’s… you guessed it, “The Tiger”. What’s more refreshing than that?

1. Search Engines

GooglePoetics compiles “poetry on subjects people are really interested in”,( whether that’s Skyrim, vampires, or being fat), and definitely encourages casual web browsers to stop for a second and look at their autofill results.

2. The Q Train

If only Jeanann Verlee and Jared Singer and Adam Falkner and Jon Sands would pop up on every train ride. Pop-Up Poets is a roving band of spoken word poets who unobtrusively board a subway—and then one after another deliver insane slam to stunned commuters.

3. The Whole Damn Subway

Even if you don’t see any of the Pop-Up Poets, the MTA still has you covered with their “Poetry in Motion” project, which has been going strong since 1992’s Walt Whitman excerpt. So what that there’s a sweaty man basically sitting in your lap, you’re stuck on a local train, and the AC’s out? Zen out to some Billy Collins.

4. Bookstores

So maybe this one seems obvious, but it’s actually ingenious. With the Guerrilla Poetics Project, letterpress-printed broadsides featuring poems are mailed to thousands of “operatives” around the world, who then sneak the poems in between the pages of tomes in bookstores. Imagine how great it would be, while slogging through your MCAT study guide, to find one of those babies.

5. Street Cleaners

For the 2013 Syndey Writers’ Festival, the city of Sydney tricked out all of their streetcleaners with six foot-long poems from W.B. Yeats, Judith Wright, and Peter Porter, among others.

6. Bacteria

Poet Christian Bök has encoded a poem he wrote into the DNA of a hardy bacteria—not only that, but the bacteria produces a protein that creates a response poem with its nucleotides!

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