The story:
As I would walk by the river, I would always see a lot of trash and it made me really sad. So I started thinking about how we could make trash valuable. That prompted kind of a weird question: How much trash is poetry worth? That’s when I came up with the idea of Poetry for Trash (PFT). You could ‘pay’ for a poem by picking up trash Here is how it works:

When you come up to a PFT station it will ask you: How much Trash is Poetry Worth?

Then you follow the three steps listed below:

1. Pick a poem (poems are inside the heart)
2. Pick up the trash it is worth (they are stocked with trash bags)
3. Add your own poem (time to replenish the heart with more poems)

This question and those three steps have lead to people picking up dumpsters worth of trash and giving away hundreds of poems.

poetryfortrashnewsign openingtheheart poeminsideheart




Why is poetry a solution to pollution?  While the value of a poem cannot be measured, it is a gift that often points out what is corrupt, false, and toxic in society and within ourselves.  The value of voluntarily picking up trash from public parks, forests, and neighborhoods cannot be measured, it too is a gift.

While Wallace Stevens said that “money is a type of poetry,”  Poetry for Trash is about  connecting us to each other and  to the environment we all enjoy through poetry as a type of money. We believe poetry is a sustainable, practical, educational, and enriching practice  for the planet and all its inhabitants.


Let’s keep the planet clean and our poetry free.