Healing Verse Philly Poetry Line Finds New Way to Bring Poetry to the Public
Poetry has long made its impact in print, online, and at local readings and events. Now, the Healing Verse Philly Poetry Line, a recent project from Philadelphia poet laureate Trapeta B. Mayson, aims to further this influence through a unique, empathetic hotline.
Both Philadelphia residents and poetry fans everywhere can call a toll-free line to hear a 90-second poem each Monday throughout 2021. These poems possess a few powerful similarities: Each holds a local connection and a hopeful theme. Throughout the month of February, all five featured poets have been accomplished Black writers.
According to Mayson, the Healing Verse Philly Poetry Line’s participants aspire to showcase optimism, grace, and resilience in the face of a pandemic, political strife, and numerous social issues. The project’s slogan, “poems are healing, too,” celebrates poetry as a form of resistance and self-care. The hotline also pairs poetry with vital resources, including community contacts for those needing shelter, counseling, and a refuge from domestic violence.
In addition to emphasizing the crucial public service performed by state poet laureates, the Healing Verse Philly Poetry Line addresses a key issue that the pandemic has underscored: the accessibility of poetry and art overall. With few in-person events and disparities in reliable Internet access, Mayson says she wanted to find a more equitable, “old-school” way to reach a larger audience. The result? A warm, authentic conversation that invites everyone—both longstanding poetry lovers and newcomers—into its fold.
So far, the hotline has featured Mayson’s poem “In This Season,” “About That Tree in the Forest” by former Philadelphia poet laureate David Jones, “Black Ecstatic Ode” by Bryn Mawr writing professor Airea D. Matthews, multimodal activist Nina “Lyrispect” Ball, and “Fractal” by spoken word performer Enoch Uchiha. Featuring a new and diverse voice each Monday, each poet reads their own poem. Recurring themes include mental health, nature, cultural pride, and the significance of ancestors.
Call into the Healing Verse Philly Poetry Line
To hear expertly chosen, vulnerable poems, call 1-855-763-6792 each Monday.
Part of the Healing Verse Philly Poetry Line’s goal is to connect people with much-needed resources. While the hotline cites local organizations, these national resources target the same topics.
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-855-763-6792
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
- Find your local homelessness hotline.
Support the Healing Verse Philly Poetry Line each Monday by calling 1-855-6792 and discovering poems for comfort and connection.