Former Associate editor Margret Aldrich on the hunt for happiness, community, and how humans thrive
You’re at the Salvation Army looking for a lamp, a canoe paddle, or a new old shirt when you hear something rustling in the clothes rack next to you. If you’re in Miami, it might be artist Agustina Woodgate, who is on a mission to spread poetry to the masses with a renegade needle and thread.
Woodgate is poetry bombing thrift stores, says Booooooom, a creativity-celebrating Vancouver website. She prints lines from Sylvia Plath and Li Po onto clothing labels, pre-threads a number of needles, nonchalantly enters the targeted second-hand store, and stealthily sews the labels into hanging garments. One tag features these lines from Po’s poem “Waking Up Drunk on a Spring Day”: “Life is a huge dream / why work so hard?” Woodgate hurriedly attaches it to a shirt collar, periodically looking over her shoulder for security guards.
Sewing poems in clothes is a way of bringing poetry to everyday life just by displacing it, by removing it from a paper to integrate it and fuse it with our lives. Sometimes little details are stronger when they are separated from where they are expected to be.
Watch the inarguably fetching video of Woodgate in action at Miami’s Community Family Thrift Store here: