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Brooklyn, NY

Handwritten is a place and space for pen and paper. We showcase things in handwriting, but also on handwriting. And so, you'll see dated letters and distant postcards alongside recent studies and typed stories. 

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Week 1: The Images and The Inspiration

Brett Rawson



When we asked Rehani about the inspiration for Words for Wallpaper, she was quick to mention Poems While You Wait, which is a group of Chicago poets who write poetry on demand (think: The Haiku Guys in NYC, only, they're not stuck to seventeen syllables). Founded by Dave Landsberger and Kathleen Rooney, you can find the traveling poets at events, street festivals, weddings, parties, or random locations around the city. For those on the receiving end, there is little to it: you see them sitting somethere, you think, I wish someone would write me a poem today, so you approach them, engage in friendly fire, fork over $5, pick a topic, and whoever is up next (they rotate), they write you a poem within 15-20 blinks. Don't a lot of people do these kinds of things? You see some individuals doing this, but rare are established groups of published poets. How will I know if it's them? Says Rehani, "They are the ones with the vintage typewriters." And she is one of "the ones." Oh, and all the proceeds go to Rose Metal Press. 

One obvious connection between Poems While You Wait and Rehani's Words for Wallpaper is the typwriter. "The approach to writing on typewriter is so different than a computer," Rehani said. "There isn’t a delete button. You need to have a certain kind of confidence when you use a typewriter." What about mistakes? They are everywhere. "Sometimes, I make mistakes and then I try to make the mistake part of the poem." And how could they not be? Standing before them is their reader, audience, and judge. When that kind of presence is present, it can increase the sound of time. 

"It's interesting to see where writing can go in such a short time. We, writers and poets, manipulate memories and images, but it's a little challenging when put on time constraints. It's almost like time is manipulating the poem, too."

Words for Wallpaper - Poems While You Wait