One of the festival volunteers asked for an affirmation poem for her 95-year old mother, Dorothy Buckland-Fuller. She was actually a famous sociologist who fought for the rights of migrant women. When the volunteer read it, she started crying. She said she would read the poem to her mother at her nursing home. I told her I only charge $30 but she gave me $80. Buckland-Fuller passed away one month after I wrote the poem.
The response was really positive. Most people wanted poems or items for occasions like birthdays. There was this one lovely guy who was a historian and he had a very long chat with my friend about the history of English poetry. But sometimes it got quite serious. There was a woman who wanted something written about her son. She had come quite a distance to visit me at the Poetry Cafe. I asked if it was for a gift and she said no, it was for herself. Her son had passed away. I said I was sorry. She was really softly spoken and really quiet. That experience really stuck with me, because you just do not know what people are going through. Overall, the festival organisers said I made a great impression and were happy to invite me back next year.
I think a Poetry Cafe is a unique experience people will talk about and cherish. It is a special unique kind of gift that you are most likely to keep and not throw away. There are many people who love giving thoughtful presents for other people. It’s also nice to just buy something thoughtful for yourself.
A poetry cafe is a fun alternative to your standard photobooth at weddings, birthdays and festivals. The concept can also work in schools, such as being part of a poetry class or workshop. Even shopping centres that need an exciting exhibit during a busy time (such as Christmastime) will benefit from a poetry cafe. The Poetry Cafe is supposed to be a holistic experience. Not only are you supporting poetry, you're also supporting the artists who bring the words to visual life as well.