Poems in the Alley

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We love so many things about Tacoma, and one thing we love most is the willingness of Tacomans (Tacomers, Tacomites, Tacomaphiles … ) to try just about anything.


Earlier this year, write@253 staffer Sam Loete was wondering how we could get our students’ writing out into the public sphere. We know that all students are capable of writing really amazing stuff, whether it’s funny, serious, heartbreaking or, sometimes, just plain weird. We read their work all the time and want others to have the experience of seeing into a student’s mind, a student whose life and perspective may be very different from our own. We love that about writing.


So we applied for a Spaceworks project to put poetry on the walls of the downtown building on the corner of Market and S. 11th. Our proposal wasn’t accepted and, instead, two local artists will transform the space. We’ve seen the plans, and it’s going to be great. But the Spaceworks folks had a proposition for us:  Would we be interested in putting poetry in the alley behind the building, where there are a whole bunch of boarded up windows and doors that offer blank spaces that could be filled with words?

Of course we would. So now that corner of our city will have both art and poetry, and we can’t wait to get to work. Within the next few days, the Spaceworks team will be prepping the building for us, and our goal is to have poems in the alley by Sept. 1.  We may need some help with the installation, so if you are interested, let us know. And if you have an idea, share it with us. We’ll try just about anything.





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