Poetry News

Type Rider: Maya Stein's Poetic Journey

By Harriet Staff

We reported on this back in May. Now, having completed her 40 day, 1,200 mile bicycle journey, poet Maya Stein reflects on her creation of the "Great American Poem"--a collaborative work by man-on-the-street poets, responding to various prompts on Stein's typewriter. She writes:

Each day, as the Great American Poem gathered miles and words, I began to understand not just the power of manifesting ideas through deliberate action, but I also witnessed the power of non-competitive creativity. The Remington Ten Forty met with the hands of carpenters and ad execs, accountants and schoolteachers, security guards and newspaper reporters, young children and their parents and their parents' parents.

Without a screen to separate or isolate their stories, participants mingled on the page and shared poignant details of their lives, sometimes even lingering afterward to connect further with their fellow typists. Their words wove in between and among other words, creating a tapestry of identity and expression absent of self-consciousness, estrangement, or one-upmanship. Tucked into the typewriter, these stories held both personal and universal narratives, and the candor and transparency with which they were shared gave participants compassion for their own and others' vulnerability.

I have been a writer for many years, usually working alone, writing my poems and stories in a quiet room or cubicle or a coffeehouse, refining my craft and preparing my work for publication. In the pursuit of success, it is easy to lose contact with the fundamental itch that drives creativity, our stirrings of desire to make something new and our primal instinct to investigate our personal journeys where we find comfort in the mystery of the human experience.

Head to the Huffington Post for pictures and the full story!

Originally Published: October 8th, 2012