Originally Posted: April 20th, 2023
Updated: May 11th, 2023

Typewriter Poetry - Free Poems at Tesla / Space X

History

In 2011, a pink typewriter found me.

A year after graduating from undergrad, I fell in love with a pink 1950’s Royal Deluxe typewriter. I tested out its mechanics by typing stories for my siblings, & writing poems for my friends based on their prompts. Poems about dinosaurs & sakuras whittled their way onto paper, alongside poetry about life on other planets. There was even a request for an acrostic poem about web design…& a haiku about haikus.

What started as a hobby project morphed into a traveling art project.

On the weekends, I’d post up at local farmer’s markets, art walks, & festivals until–inevitably–someone would be bold enough to ask for a poem. We’d talk, exchange stories, & I’d write them a poem based off our interaction or a subject of their choosing.

I was offered a spot in the first Canoga Park Artwalk thanks to my all-time favorite arts collective, 11:11. I still remember typing my first poems for strangers, there. I made friends with a dog named Gypsy who suffered from a terminal illness. Met a woman who was in love with her boyfriend but had issues with his unavailable emotional waves. Someone requested a poem about one of my favorite colors, orange; later, they sent me a picture of it hanging on their wall.

Eventually, Typewriter Poetry became my sole (soul) means of travel. I ended up traveling across the country with my typewriter, & the project evolved into a public performance, street art, & busking piece. Beautiful waves of synchronicity guided me, helping me make new friends & find safe spaces to sleep. I relied heavily on the kindness of others & the connections they introduced to continue going.

I hitchhiked & typed on street corners, at art parties, farmer’s markets, & art walks. I crashed on the couches of new friends & old. I got lucky enough to walk with the people I loved, but mostly I wandered by myself. I’m eternally grateful to all the amazing friends I made throughout California, Oregon, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, New YorkNew JerseyPennsylvania, New Mexico, Arizona, & Colorado.

As the years passed, my blog grew, & so did the community of people I met who were interested in my story. I crossed paths with other typewriter poets like Dawn X Spectre & Alandra Markman. A photograph of me was even published in the incredible book, The Typewriter Revolution by Richard Polt. I gained amazing opportunities to type Free Poetry at various museums, schools, & tech companies.

Artisanal LA offered me a free booth in their festivals, where I had a chance to dress up & type for other vendors & participants. They held markets at really interesting spaces, which meant I had the opportunity to type Free Poetry at Tesla & SpaceX for Valentine’s Day.

The Staten Island Museum invited me for a Valentine’s Day tribute to Betty Bressi, a typewriter artist, where I typed Free Poetry for guests as part of the exhibition.

The Princeton Public Library invited me to type during their annual Beyond Words gala, a gorgeous evening filled with the sounds of an orchestral band, free-flowing wine, good food & good people.

I brought my typewriter with me to raves, festivals, carnivals–even to the jungles of Mexico for the Rainbow Gathering.

It was a fun trip which, like all trips, is now settling into a new beginning for the decade’s end.

In 2019, I sent friends & family Poetry Care Packages by mail.

The impulse came from wanting to “go dark” on social media, while still keeping in touch with people I had met at various stages in my life. I found myself searching for ways to keep connected with everyone I met–in-person as well as virtually–through Typewriter Poetry.

As the pandemic of 2020 began, I turned toward Typewriter Poetry once again to pass on a bit of delight. The Poetry Care Package offering took off in a way I never saw coming. It shifted between Quarantine Poetry, to Poems for a Loved One, to Poetry for Kids–all offerings meant to bring a smile to whoever was meant to receive it. I’ve since fallen in love with the marriage between typewriter to paper to envelope, & the painstaking process of handcrafting a personalized package for each person’s request.

Today, Typewriter Poetry’s mission is still the same as it’s always been: to cultivate the magic of playful, spontaneous connections & conversations between strangers, family, & friends.

These days, I partake in this practice by sending out One-Time, Weekly, Monthly, & Seasonal snail mail.

I am revisiting the practice of crafting Typewriter Poetry Greeting Cards–an eclectic mix of abstract phrases & free association–as a gentle reminder that the free-flow of the nonsensical still has its place in this exceedingly concrete & literal world.

By making personally curated Poetry Care Packages, I’m hoping to pass along subtle acts of kindness & passing moments of grace. (The humility & satisfaction I tap into with every trip to the mailbox is more than worth the painstaking labor of handmaking each piece.)

As always, thank you for being here. It’s been an honor journeying with my typewriter. I can’t wait to see what this next cycle will bring to us all.

With Love & Stardust,
Billimarie

32 thoughts on “History”

  1. Your work is lovely, it’s nice when you come across a modern poet who’s worthy of the title. I’m envious of your typewriter, I hope to own one for myself someday. Although, if you were to make a mistake, wouldn’t it be frustrating to have to start over? I like that you write your poems in this way, it is somehow more real.

  2. Thanks for the comment on the nostalgia post on my blog! (http://termitewriter.blogspot.com) If I wasn’t pressed for time, I would drag out some of the 60’s and 70’s cards and take pictures of them! I’ll keep that in the back of my mind! Obviously you’re much younger than I am, but cyberspace brings all types of people together. Does anything else on my blog interest you? I’m going to follow you on Twitter. I’m @TermiteWriter

  3. Fantastic and original concept – performance art / automatism poetry / immediate personal interaction with others akin to portrait painting / use of old technology (“old technology becomes art” – Marshall McLuhan)…I’m impressed and inspired…

  4. I have to say that I have never understood poetry. Then, in college I had to dissect one (I chose Among School Children by Yeats) and it was one of the hardest projects I’d ever had to do. But I learned so much and learned to be more patient with poems.

    Now, I come across your blog and your entries and it’s great because it’s so different from everything else that’s out there. I have to just sit and take a breath while reading your poems. I still don’t always understand poetry but I think that it’s part of the charm. So many things are left unsaid and it’s about the emotions behind it.

    Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I love your blog. I think what you’re doing is absolutely amazing.

    1. Valerie–I hope this reaches you…! It’s taken me such a long time to reply to your comment because–well–I am full of lackluster excuses but none of them matter. (I’m not as active on this blog as I probably should be.)

      Your thoughts completely blew me away. It took me a while to find you and your blog :3 I really wanted to connect with you and say THANK YOU for the kind words you shared more than a year ago. I’m following Indecisively Reckless (perfect title) so hopefully we get a chance to keep up with each other (without a year passing by…!)

      Happy holidays! <3

  5. Wow.. What a Blessing meeting you today at Rittenhouse Square Park. And I purchased a frame for the POEM you wrote for me when I left the park. Hope that interview will serve you well….

    You are an InspiratioN‼

    Keep Shining!
    E.V.

    1. Hi, Yvonne! Such a pleasure hearing from you, again. Have you made it out to the west coast, yet?

      I’m glad to hear the poem now lives in a frame 🙂 And thank you again for encouraging those girls to interview me. I wouldn’t have done it without your powerful presence as an influence.

      Happy holidays! Keep in touch!

  6. This is such a great idea and site! Would you mind if I copied your idea? I’d like to try it in my favorite park. Thanks for all your hard work. I’m sure you’ve made a lot of peoples day. You sure have made mine!

    1. Hi, Dicky! Thanks for your comment, and for reaching out. I’d love if you kept the rest of us updated on your Free Poetry adventures 🙂 Feel free to send me an email with an update if you ever get the chance.

      I’m glad I added a bit of cheer to your day. Enjoy your favorite park for me, and good luck!

Leave a Reply