Vending Machine Poetry

Smoking has been banned in England in enclosed spaces, including pubs. There’s an opportunity to use the cigarette vending machines to vend… poetry?

M-m, I can see the logic and generally I’m in favour of innovative ways of getting poems to audiences, but I’m uneasy about this.

1. Who reads in pubs?

I do, but I don’t drink or smoke and have more books than friends, so it’s safe to assume I’m the exception rather than the rule. Pubs are for socialising, chatting with friends or tolerating a monologue from the loner at the end of the bar. Yep, sit in a pub long enough and someone will talk to you. Hardly the environment to inspire ‘could do with something to read, oh, look I’m in luck a poetry vending machine!’ type thoughts.

2. Small Print.

Cigarette packets are the ideal size for haiku and related verse forms, triolets, limericks and government health warnings. Anything sonnet-sized is longer isn’t going to fit. Unless the print is miniaturised or the paper is folded. Folds are weaknesses: several re-readings later the poems will have disintegrated, the buyer will feel robbed and will never buy a vending machine poem again. Layout is vitally important in a poem. Readers need to see where the line end and stanza breaks are.

I don’t see the fag-packet format lasting.


One Response to “Vending Machine Poetry”

  1. Sian O'Leary Says:

    Hi Emma,
    Just thought I’d link through from LWC and say hello.
    It’s a good blog, will continue to check it out. As an unreconstructed pariah smoker I’d definitely want to keep the machines for the fags! I’d have to go outside but at least I could get my still just about legal fix….

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