Guest Post: 100 Thousand Poets For Change

I was, unfortunately, not able to attend the recent Bonk! installment, which participated in the world wide program 100 Thousand Poets for Change. Luckily, our lovely Elkid was able to attend and she’s graciously agreed to share her experience with us.

Your Friendly neighborhood storyteller,

Emily Vakos


I have always loved reading poetry. Prose is my forte, but can you blame me for falling so madly in love with writing that says so much in so little. There are a million ways to read a book. But there are a billion ways to read a poem. Nevertheless, there is no way you would have ever caught me dead writing one. And let’s say (hypothetically) that I did write one, there is no way on any of the seven levels of Dante’s hell that you would have ever found me reading that poem aloud to an audience.
But that’s exactly what I did.

Last weekend, BONK! hosted 100 Thousand Poets For Change – AKA 100T (as the cool kids call it). 100T is a nonprofit organization that invites poets from all around the world to participate in a global sharing of poems. They read pieces about social justice and the kind of worldwide change they would like to begin practicing in their own community. This year we had twenty poets come out and share their voices. Each poem was as diverse as the voice that read it. This year, I added my own voice to the song.
After weeks of trying to perfect short stories or entire chapters of novels, I needed a win. I was craving that sense of satisfaction that comes from completing a project. That was how I found myself toying with poetry in the first place. Somehow, I wrote a poem. Then, somehow, I found myself sharing said poem with our local Writers’ Workshop. One thing just kind of snowballed into another which is how I found myself agreeing to read my piece when I was asked to share at 100T.

What I read was far from my best work. To be honest I wish I loved it more than I do. I don’t really like it. I kept in mind that we artists tend to be our own harshest critics. There would be no one in that room who would expect more from me than myself. So, I shared it anyway.

You know what? It didn’t kill me. It was kind of a wonderful experience. I got to step out of this warm comfortable little head space I have created as a writer and I tried something new along with my community. It was scary. Sharing so much intimate information about yourself with people is never easy. Whether it’s a close friend or a total stranger, you wonder if the way they view you will shift as you reveal bits of yourself. There were faces in the audience that have watched me grow up, and there were faces I had never seen before. But I know everyone in that room was willing to step out of their comfort zone to do something for this city we love so much. Even if that something is as simple as sharing a poem.

Let me challenge you to break your writing routine a little this month. If you’re in the zone, then stay in your zone! But if you need to refresh, try something new. Write something different. Get it off your chest. Give it a try. And dare to fail. Don’t be afraid to be bad at something. Honestly, I suck at writing poetry.

Let me know how it goes. I’m dying to hear your stories. Hit me up on Facebook and tell me where your challenge leads you. And as always –

Write On

-Elkid M.



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