Keep an eye out for Poetry in Plain Sight

The North Carolina Poetry Society initiative is gaining ground in Asheville, with more + more local windows showing off poetry posters.

A purple poster on a community board with a poem called "Poems Don't Always Do What We Tell Them"

The posters, like this one at Malaprop’s, put a little more art into the world.

Photo by AVLtoday

It’s difficult to turn a street corner or glance in a gallery window without seeing Asheville’s arts scene on display. From murals to sculpture, these creations have a prominent place in the city — but the written arts aren’t nearly as visible. Poetry in Plain Sight is working to change that.

Each year, the North Carolina Poetry Society program chooses poems from NC poets to print on posters and display in businesses’ windows. You’ll find them in shops around Raleigh, Charlotte, Burnsville, and Greensboro (to name a few), but for a long time, there were scant few in Asheville. Alida Woods, poet and former Asheville City Schools educator, asked why.

“Well, when you ask those kinds of questions — ‘How can we get that here?’ — guess what happens,” says Woods. “You get to do it.”

Poetic purpose

So Woods took a stack of posters and began to approach Asheville businesses to see whose windows and walls could become a canvas for poetry. Even occupying these quiet spaces, the poems offer not just a public eye for NC poets, Woods says, but an inspiration for young and old.

“I’m just one who completely believes that poetry can change lives,” says Woods. “If you’re just standing around waiting somewhere and you see this poster, you could read it and think, ‘Wow, there’s a role for poetry in the world.’”

See the stanzas

You can find the poetry posters on display all around the city at places like Malaprop’s Books & Cafe and West Asheville Library. On Friday, April 5, 6-8 p.m., The Hop West will unveil its posters and celebrate the program. Tune in virtually on Saturday, April 6 to see the launch of the 2024-25 program and hear works from the selected poets.

To celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day, kids ages 5-18 can submit a poem to be posted at The Hop West. The celebration (complete with ice cream) will take place on Saturday, April 27.

Send an email for details on submitting your child’s poem or for getting a poster for your business.