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Bedtime Poems … an experiment

I’m interested in how we can use communications technology to transcend the ordinary and forge moments of deep connection, in the context of our fast-paced, busy lives.

Poetry occupies a special place in my heart, but poetry doesn’t always occupy the space I would like it to in my life. Books on the shelf – paper on wood – are silent sentinels. Poetry read aloud gains movement through the breath, takes on new meaning in the space between the reader & the listener’s interpretations.

I want to experiment with how modern communications tools – email, mobile phones, skype, websites, doodle polls & this blog – can facilitate a connection over something modern life doesn’t always make time for – poetry. And so, I’m beginning an experiment – Bedtime Poems – to read a poem to one friend every day for the month of August.

My process

  1. I began by posting a message about this on Facebook & received wonderful comments back. (My next post will be the full list of poems).
  2. I used the free online scheduling tool Doodle to create a poll. I chose each day for the month of August, and closed the poll so that each participant can only choose one date, and each date can only have one participant. This is a simple way for me to ensure I have a person to call each day, without having to go back & forth on scheduling. I’ve closed the poll so that only I can see the responses, and asked participants to indicate a time frame that works for me to reach them.
  3. I’ve gathered the email addresses of all the people who liked or commented on my Facebook post, plus some other friends, and am emailing them the link to the Doodle poll today.
  4. As friends start to fill in the dates I plan to set gmail reminders for myself and them, to make it easy to call people within their recommended timeframe. My life will be as busy as it usually is in August, the idea is to use these tech tools to make it easy for me to share something deep & meaningful with friends I probably don’t speak with very regularly.
  5. I’ll try to blog – even short posts – about the process, with links to poems so that others can share in the joy of the poetry in their own ways. And if this experiment works, it ought to be endlessly hackable & replicable for others who want to create more space for poetry in their lives.
  6. The rest – in flux! I have some poems in mind but I’m also looking forward to the opportunity to tailor each reading to the person on the other end of the line. Some days, I imagine literally reading a friend to sleep with a poem, ending with simply “goodnight & sweet dreams.” Other nights, the poem may prove inspiration, and perhaps they will go on to write or call others. It’s an experiment because I don’t know quite how it will all work, and I’m excited to learn from the process.

What recommendations do you have for the experiment? Any favorite poems/poets you would like to share?

1 Comment so far

  1. I’m trying to think of poems to suggest, but most of my favorites are perhaps not the best choices for bedtime (“Let America Be America Again” doesn’t exactly make me sleepy).

    Are all the poems going to be in English?

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