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May 1, 2005

Dial–A–Poem — Now Only One Click Away


Sarah Boxer wrote a nice piece for yesterday's New York Times about Dial–A–Poem, which arose seemingly out of nowhere back in 1969, at the height of flower power, and started offering free, at 212–628–0400, one of a dozen poems read by their authors who included, among the initial dozen, William S. Burroughs, Anne Waldman, John Cage, Allen Ginsberg, and Joe Brainard.

Each day there was a whole new group of poems.

Millions of people called, most between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., so the founder, John Giorno (above in 1969 at Dial–A–Poem headquarters, which consisted of one room and 10 phone lines) figured that it was people sitting at their desks during business hours in New York City.

Believe it or not there was no internet and no bookofjoe back then — you really had to work a lot harder not to work than nowadays. But I digress.

Giorno said in the Times story, "The second busiest time was 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m...., then the California calls and those tripping on acid or who couldn't sleep, 2 a.m. to 6 a.m."

No more phones, but Dial–A-Poem still exists, online.

Just go here and voila, there you are.

Of course, you could say that about anyplace you were, but we're not about semantics here — sure, we tolerate some antics, but that's a whole other kettle of wish — I mean, fish.

Where was I?

Oh, yeah, Dial–A–Poem.

Check it out: there's lots to browse amongst.

Surely you'll find something more interesting than whatever it is you're supposed to be doing.

Which is not saying a whole lot, I know, but hey, that's just that way it is.

For now, anyway.

May 1, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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