Marta Redux!

by Jimmy on May 27, 2015

5-22-2015-FPOD-MARTA_010 Our favorite Eftenpoet (see above) came back for the weekend, so Jon and I decided to make an event of it. It was Friday, May 22, and we hopped on the Marta during morning rush hour. Truth be told, we were rather late, and missed the crowdy-crowds, but there were still enough late comers to write poems for. We wrote on many topics, particularly love, love, love, and more love (OK we wrote many different poems on one topic). There were other topics too, like “life”… Interesting anecdotes from this event:

  • a good samaritan came up to us after refusing our offer for free poems and told us that what we were doing was not allowed on the Marta! We informed him that we were not asking for money, and that the poems were entirely free. He said that this was still not allowed! And that he will report us to the authorities! Thank your lucky stars that this man is riding the Marta and keeping your best interests in mind. I don’t know what we’d do without him (oh, I know… continue writing poems?)
  • a woman requested a poem on the topic of “my man”… then she thought better of it and changed it (wisely) to “my kids”
  • several really enthusiastic demanders, always grateful to them. We love writing poems on the train, it’s a different experience than at festivals. People are more surprised, and thus more delighted (if they are receptive to that kind of thing) or more angry (if they are not)



Jimmy, Priscilla, and I wrote these poems at an “Art of Community in Atlanta” event, hosted by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and we were invited by Wonderoot. It was hot, loud… but some fun poem-writing.

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Decatur Book Festival, August 30-31, 2014

by Jimmy on September 3, 2014

Another year, another book festival. This year we set up our table in a new location: outside of the Art Institute of Atlanta. Thanks to them and Eyedrum, we were able to get a space in DBF as part of eXperimental Writers Asylum. Also thanks to Wonderroot for providing the tent. Aside: we now have an Instagram account, so please follow us there for instant-er photos in the future.

Day one: nice day, poets who came out included me, Jon, Zac, Allison and Ping Pong. New free-poet Shyla also joined us, though she wouldn’t let us photograph any of her poems! I don’t blame her, photography steals the soul, right? The demand was INSANE. We had to close our doors an hour early, at 3pm, so that we could catch up. Alas, many of the poems we wrote were not picked up (41). The weather held out and it rained about half an hour after we packed up.

Day two: hot and humid! Poets who came out included me, Michael, Zac, Jon, Robin, Eftenbad, and new free-poet Sipai. Demand continues to be insane. We did our best, but didn’t have time to take photos of all our poems, unfortunately. About 20 unclaimed poems from day two. Here is some photographic documentation:

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We’re On Instagram! + DBF

by Jimmy on September 1, 2014

follow us on Instagram freepoemsatlThe Decatur Book Festival this past weekend was a blast and we wrote hundreds of poems (thanks to eXperimental Writers Asylum, Eyedrum, Art Institute of Atlanta, and Wonderroot). While you’re waiting for us to write a full report and post pictures of those poems on this-here-blog (which we will, bear with us), we’ve already posted several on our new Instagram account @freepoemsatl!  We’ll still be posting here, but Instagram will satisfy your need for speed. We plan to post poems on Instagram ASAW (as soon as written).


At the Annie E. Casey Foundation Atlanta Civic Site, 2-6 pm.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Atlanta Civic Site is hosting and collaborating with local communities, residents, partners and corporate sponsors to create an exciting and memorable “Art of Community” experience on the Casey Foundation.


352 University Ave.
Atlanta, GA, 30310


Free Poems in Flux & More

by Jimmy on April 6, 2014

We will be performing THROUGHOUT APRIL thanks to Flux Projects and their McTell Street Project. Come see us every Thursday in April at the corner of 12th Street and Peachtree (among the food trucks… yum!). Here are the times

  • April 3, noon-1pm
  • April 10, 1:30pm-2:30pm
  • April 17, 12:30pm-1:30pm
  • April 24th, noon-1pm

Other artists will also be performing every Thursday in April.

That’s not all. On April 20, 2-6pm, we’ll be writing free poems at Atlanta Streets Alive. If you’ve never been before, you should definitely come check it out. They shut a big street down for pedestrians and bicyclists to take it over for several hours. They’ve done Peachtree, Highland, and Edgewood before. This time they’ll shut down some streets on the West Side. Go to their webpage for all the details. We’re not sure where we’ll camp out yet, but walk around and you’ll probably find us.


Atlanta Streets Alive will actually be in the West END, not the West Side. We now have more details. Free Poems on Demand will be setting up on Ralph David Abernathy Blvd, between Peeple St and Lawton St.

UPDATE #2 (4/16):

We will also be writing free poems at the Living Walls + Boulevard Tunnel Initiative Project on Saturday, April 19 from noon to 4pm at 180 Carroll Street in Cabbagetown. There will be other festivities including a farmers market and tour of walls.


Poems on the move! (MARTA, December 30)

by Jimmy on January 1, 2014

I love doing Free Poems, but it’s been a while since I’ve felt that rush of adrenaline that I experienced the very first time we did it 3 years ago. Part of that adrenaline rush came from the pressure of writing in front of an audience, as well as writing in very little time. And part of it had to do with putting ourselves out there, to staring eyes, not caring what people thought. But these days, it’s a little different. People who usually go out to festivals have heard about us, and we’re doing it at bigger events. And with practice, we’ve gotten really good at meeting those short deadlines.

So when we did Free Poems on MARTA this past Monday (our first time), it was a way of putting ourselves out there again. Raising the stakes, if you will. And also a way of connecting with our original intended audience–i.e. just regular old folks (though we love the festival-goer demographic too). I never thought I would be the guy who walks into a train and starts yelling “Hello Ladies and Gentlemen…” and it was a little terrifying at first. But I was surprised how quickly it became second nature and actually quite liberating.

Jon and I started at the Five Points station around rush hour (the entire event lasted from 4pm to 6:30pm). We picked a spot on the North platform near the bottom of the escalator, so that people could see us as they were coming down. But it was disconcerting how many people DIDN’T see us–they just looked past us in a blank stare… ah, that just-got-off-work zombie look. I know it well.

At a certain point we took the South train almost to the airport, changing cars at every stop to find new demanders. Though some people didn’t want anything to do with us, many others warmed up to us quickly. Some thanked us profusely, and it was nice to see their faces light up to the idea. I think doing it on the train adds that extra element of surprise, because most people do not expect anything like this on their regular old boring commute.

We then rode North to Lindberg and then back South to Five Points, writing poems the whole time. Some of the topics were strangely synchronistic–we got two different requests for the topic “Pink” back to back, from completely different individuals, and it wasn’t until we compared notes later that we realized this. Also, we had two different requests for “Jesus”. It’s no surprise that we got probably 10+ requests for “Love” and a few for “Freedom”–these are common topics. But “Jesus” and “Pink” are not that common, and to get them back to back from different people certainly qualified as “something in the air”.

These photos are pretty bad. The lighting was not ideal. And many of the poems didn’t get their pictures taken because the demanders were running off to catch their next train. So these are only a few traces of our adventure. Happy New Year! May 2014 be full of free poems.


Atlanta Streets Alive is one of our favorite events, and this time they closed down an entire loop from Highland to Virginia to Monroe/Boulevard and back to Highland. We were camped out on Virginia Ave, a couple blocks west of Highland. Participating poets were: Jon Ciliberto, Zac Denton, Nisa Asokan, Sherri Caudell and myself. Among the pleasant surprises: our friend Thomas came by and sketched/painted us. A block down from us, a group of friendly folks were giving out Free Advice! And some regular FPOD customers came back for more poems. One kid in particular said he wanted to collect the complete set (he already had poems by me, Jon, and Zac, so this time he got one by Nisa).


We set up around Woodruff Park this time. The weather was perfect, and the demanders were demanding. The free poets for the day were Jon Ciliberto, Robin Bernat and myself (Jimmy Lo). The photo above was taken by John Christopher Matyjasik.


We were asked to participate in the Atlanta Summer Beer Festival. What could be better than writing free poems and drinking free beer on a summer day? In attendance were the two Nicks (one of Eftenbad shame), Nisa, Priscilla, and yours truly. Priscilla even brought a typewriter! Below you will see a document of our progressive drunkenness as played out in worsening metaphors: