The Spark & Stitch Family Poetry Project offers you the chance to have a personalized live session with partner poet Diver Van Avery. Commission a family poem after a year of COVID-19. Commission a poem for your graduating senior, toddler, partner or friends. Commission a poem for yourself. We all need to make meaning of this moment and give words to what matters most – our connections with each other.
Learn more about the project here, check out our FAQs, or keep scrolling to see short animated excerpts (shared with permission), reflections from our partner poet Diver Van Avery, and feedback from participants.
“It was easy and such a wonderful experience all around. Working with Diver was so smooth and really quite fun and amazing to hear her take the information gleaned from our conversation and immediately begin typing the poem. I was blown away by the amazing and touching poem she was able to create in the time we were on the phone. I had tears as she read back what she created for us. A perfect family poem that somehow captured so much of our family dynamic not only these past few months but throughout our lives. This poetry project was one of the best things that we’ve done in a long time and will be treasured forever.”
– Cindy Taerud, Poetry Project Participant
“Right away [Diver] made us feel at ease and appreciated our rawness and honesty that life and parenting can be hard. I was shocked that even with sibling bickering happening while Diver was typing, she created a truly amazing and perfect poem that summed up our family spot on. We were all in awe of her talent and ability to capture such a unique moment in our family history, all in a matter of minutes. Listening to the sounds of the typewriter clicking away was fun and built up a level of excitement to hear the poem she was creating. This opportunity truly is not to be missed, regardless of where you feel your life and family situation is at and how worthy it is to be poetically documented.”
– Andrea Murrill, Poetry Project Participant
“A family that I recently spoke to had their third child in the last year. In quarantine, they have gotten pregnant, carried a baby to term, and given birth. The mother said that she struggled with how exhausted she was during her first trimester. She said that she felt guilty for how little she was able to parent her other kids. Her partner kept reassuring her that he loved showing up for their two kids to let her rest. He kept saying to her, “This is what I can do for you.” I loved that phrase, and it became a repeated line in their poem, culminating with:
This is what I can do for you;
which everyday. I do.
– Diver Van Avery, Poetry Project Poet
“I am so honored to listen. Sometimes it can be easier for people to open up to a stranger. Often people cry as they get in touch with the depth of their love and heartache. My conversations start with a simple instruction: tell me about your family. I know I am ready to write when details of their daily lives emerge. Often the poems are inspired by what people say about who makes lunch, what makes them laugh, or the places that have become sacred.”
– Diver Van Avery, Poetry Project Poet
“Diver created a warm connection with me, she listened with presence and was attuned. Right away I felt welcome, accepted and interesting. Listening to the typewriter was incredible! I was so surprised how much that impacted my experience. And the poem Diver created was/is beautiful- I felt an immediate connection to her/my/our words.”
– Julie Plotkin, Poetry Project Participant
“If you’re searching for a way to offer a little hope and laughter to a child in your life, look and listen for poetry. It’s in the air all around you. And it’s in you, too. I promise.”
– Jason Basa Nemec
“This was amazing. Our 10 and 13 year old were very engaged. Diver put us all at ease. It was one of the most loving, supportive things we have done this year. THANK YOU!
It meant a lot to us to be able to support an artist as well in these trying times. Such a great way to support and build community in a very small but meaningful way.”
– Rebecca Gordon, Poetry Project Participant
“It was a completely unique and organic-feeling experience. On the phone, I thanked Diver for sharing her creativity, but I should have thanked her for sharing her magic. I couldn’t believe how well the poem captured our family’s personal experiences of the last year after only 10 minutes of chatting with Diver. Highly highly recommend!!”
– Britta Rupp, Poetry Project Participant