Poetry on the air and out of the box

Now in its 14th year, the Poetry Box has collected over 200 poems from local and regional writers – and distributed over 20,000 copies of those poems.
The Poetry Box, designed by John Frechette, on Broadway. (Photo courtesy of Jackson Hole Writers)

by | Jun 12, 2024 | Art & Design

A haiku. An ode. A sonnet. A limerick. Whatever your flavor, Jackson Hole Writers has a poem for you. 

Once a month, the organization’s executive director, Matt Daly, will read a poem from the organization’s poetry box collection on the KHOL airwaves. Tune in on the second Tuesday of every month at 10:30 a.m. 

The on-air poetry is an offshoot of the physical poetry box on Broadway, one of many place-making projects in Jackson Hole. Situated between Persephone Bakery and Genievieve’s on Broadway, the small wooden box invites passersby to take a free poem as they go about their business—a creative take on the once-pervasive newspaper stand. 

The Poetry Box was the brainchild of arts writer and advocate Meg Daly, a former KHOL reporter and the sister of Matt Daly. Local artist and owner of MADE John Frechette designed the box.

Matt Daly says that poetry is particularly relevant now. 

“Poetry holds multiple feelings at the same time—multiple and seemingly conflicted feelings,” Daly said. “The way we experience the world, all sorts of stuff is coming at us at the same time. So the way we are called upon to hold multiple feelings [makes poetry] more necessary.”

Now in its 14th year, the Poetry Box has collected over 200 poems from local and regional writers and distributed over 20,000 copies of those poems. 

It aims to inspire people with the notion that poetry can be found anywhere—be it figuratively in the beauty around us, a small gesture of kindness, or, in this case, an actual poem. 

Jackson Hole Writers encourages anyone to submit their poetry by emailing Matt Daly at matt@jhwriters.org. Contributions from artists and photographers are also welcome.

In addition to the box on Broadway, poems can also be found on social media at @jhpoetrybox

The inaugural KHOL poetry reading featured a poem by Lyf ‘n Ink, titled #14: 

Have you ever stared at a barren tree in the winter

and wondered if it would ever bloom again?

I have. May I send note on sparrow wings to

Tell you of this coming spring?

I have seen it before. The blossoms.

I have seen the buds poke out and I wish.

I wish them into existence. I wish them to be beautiful.

Like you. I see them and send love on fairy dust to them.

To grow and be happy and strong and everlasting.

Now. Can I ask for the same. For this tree to become anew.

And have others send prayers on the wind my way?

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About Emily Cohen

Emily has served as executive director of KHOL since June 2019. She has a background in ecological design and urban planning and has worked as a teacher on the US-Mexico border in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, as a policy wonk in Washington, DC and as a land use planner in Wyoming. She enjoys getting away from the operations side of radio to produce original stories about arts and culture in Jackson.

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