On-the-Spot Poetry

Here’s how OTS poetry works:

“Hello. What could I write you a poem about?”

“Can you do one about new beginnings?”

Then boom — that topic gets turned into an original poem in 1-2 minutes.

Created right there while you watch, on-the-spot, on a typewriter.

The response is often smiles, high-fives, even hugs:

I’ve gotten to write over 20,000 OTS poems from Maine to Mexico, Seattle to San Antonio, even for a few celebrities:

Rockstar poet Naomi Shihab Nye even read one of my OTS poems to the thousands at the Sun Valley Writers Conference!

OTS poetry is fun, terrifying, & changed my life:

OTS Poetry – Video Stories

(coming soon)

OTS Poetry – Tips & Tools

(coming soon)

Some favorite OTS poetry stories:


At the West Seattle Farmers Market, two couples were nearby. Couple #1 leaned in & whispered: “Our friends don’t know we’re pregnant — can you write a poem to tell them?” The best part was watching the other couple read the poem and yell: “No way!!”

“This was really incredible. And the poem was perfect – they wound up using it as their birth announcement on Facebook later in the day.” —James Frasca, poem requester


At the Austin Maker Faire, a man came up for a poem and said: “My partner wants to have kids, I don’t. We’ve been together eight years, but now we’re splitting up. Nothing’s wrong, we just . . . can you put that in a poem?”

When I finished, I snapped a photo of the poem and handed it over. The poetry line was long so I went right to the next person; like so many personal poems, I never got to see him read it, never saw him again.


On a sunny morning at the West Seattle Farmers Market, a young girl walked by with her parents. Her mom stopped and told the girl to get a poem. The girl was suuuuuuuper shy, kind of hiding beside her mom and eating an ice cream cone so she wouldn’t have to talk.

“How about a poem about you—about Lili?” her mom asked her.

“She was named after the flower,” her mom told me. Lili kept eating her ice cream, smiling but not speaking.

“Would you like a poem?” I asked Lili. She took another bite of ice cream, then nodded.

“What would you like it to be about?” I asked. Nothing. “Would you like it to be about Lili?”

More ice cream eating, smiling at the ground, then Lili finally looked up — and nodded again.