Kristen Steenbeeke reports that Hugo House's crowd-sourced poetry experiment has come to a close for the year. Last week, Hugo House set up a stand with a typewriter at the University District Farmer's Market and encouraged passers-by to contribute to a group poem. The poets were only allowed to write one line, and they were only allowed to read the line that came before their line.
Is the end result great poetry? Well, no. But it is fascinating stuff. I especially like how the poem shifts moods wildly from one poet to the next: the nonsensically giddy "Happy day party time new baby" gives way to "the fog rolls in," and then "the gray hearkens her mind" is followed by "happy thoughts shine through." This is a group of anonymous Seattleites, telling each other to cheer up through the fall gloom. The poem's multitudinous attentions eventually wander to pumpkins and octopuses and apricot danishes. As a narrative, it says nothing much at all. But as a collective gauge of the mood of a large crowd of Seattleites in the middle of a chilly November, I'd say it's surprisingly accurate.