When I first moved to Bloomington, many folks told me to check out the Community Orchard. They talked about the strawberries and the apples, the pears and the flowers, the bees and the blackberries, and so much more, but most boasted about  of all  were the amazing people who helped establish and run it.  My first… Read More


Over the past year, I’ve been teaching poetry and gift economics at the Crestmont Boys’ and Girls’ Club (B&GC) , and this semester,  we are building our Poetry for Trash (PFT) stations.   The Hope Builders, a group of retired carpenters, regularly volunteer with non-profit organizations in Bloomington, such as the B&GC, and they offered… Read More


From the editors: As lovers of poetry and literary crusaders against pollution, we were so interested to hear about this new project, Poetry for Trash. We asked founder and director John-Michael Peter Bloomquist to tell us about the project, his inspiration, and what poetry and trash have in common. Here’s what he had to say: … Read More


At AWP,  I gave out hundreds of poem-post cards  with this spiel:   “Pretend you’re entering your favorite forest and I’m a tree at the entrance, and this little bird-house-heart asks you, “How Much Trash is Poetry Worth?” Step 1. Pick a poem Step 2. Pick up the trash it is worth Step 3. Add your… Read More


How much trash will this sign pick up?   Thanks to Middle of Broad Studios and my design crew,Aprille Zammit, Olivia Walthall, and Caroline Norton, for building this sign, and Ellwood Thomson for donating the bags.   Here is looking back:   I made this with a sign post, pickle jar, and a plastic bottle… Read More


Three Steps:   Mauss summarizes that gift giving is biased on three actions: to give, to receive, and to reciprocate, hence, the three steps of Poetry for Trash: 1. Pick a poem 2. Pick up the Trash it is worth 3. Add your own poem     Step one: Pick a poem “Where there is no… Read More


This year for halloween I decided to go to the parade on Oregon Hill and hand out some poems by Poe, Blake, Dickinson, and  Booth  that could be considered halloween themed: there were dead things in the poems. I wrapped the poems in candy. “Is the candy in the poem a metaphor?” some people would ask.… Read More


The morning was  overcast. My friend, the artist Dan Sheets,  was at my door at around 9 am with his daughter in a stroller. “I’ve been up all night cause she was having a hard time sleeping, so I made 17 of these magpies,” he said, surprising me a plastic bag full of  these gorgeous magpies.   He said… Read More


Read VCU’s latest article on Poetry for Trash!  © Poetry for Trash is a gift economy were you can exchange poems for trash. Poetry is of the planet and helps us belong. Let’s keep the planet clean and our poetry free. We go to rivers, public parks, and forests to install signs that kinda look like… Read More


THANK YOU RICHMOND FOLK FESTIVAL AND EVERYONE WHO PICKED POEMS, PICKED UP TRASH, AND GAVE THEIR OWN POEMS.   So here are some of the best photos from the festival. There are many more photos, and many more people who partook whose photos I did not take. Here was my M.O. : I stood about 20… Read More