Post image for Street poet: a winter story for the heat wave

Street poet: a winter story for the heat wave

Kids and typewriters. It’s a match made in heaven. The resurgence of typewriters in recent years has not only given given rise to a new phenomenon of ‘street poetry’ – you pay a fee, tell the poet what you want your poem to be about, and they write it for you on their typewriter, right there – it has also inspired many, many children and teenagers, connecting them with an old, deep analogue version of their own creativity.

It was only a matter of time before I heard of a child street poet, and I am overjoyed to share with you – even months late, for which I apologise – these pictures of young Max, ten at the time of taking, performing his street poetry in London last December, on (as he says in his poem) an Olympia Splendid 66 typewriter. He is known to me through his dad, Raul, who has given me permission, and who took the pictures.

Max's poem, 'Poems for Sale'

I didn’t get to go see Max in person to commission a poem from him – things here were not in favour of an excursion like that – but like the pro he is, he wrote a poem just for Baroque in Hackney, and you can read it below. As with so many other poems, it is about actually writing a poem. And its central image is about Houdini! That’s exciting. I’ve also once written a poem about Houdini, but never have I tried to be a street poet.

Max at a folding table outside the National Theatre inLondon, with a typewriter on a folding table and a sign saying 'Poems for Sale'

I’ve been sitting on this story since Christmastime, shamefully. I wasn’t sure what I was doing with the blog back then, given everything else that was going on, and looking back on it I was a little more out of it than I even realised at the time – but now we’re back in business. It’s as if I’ve taken a breath, and stepped back to reality. Thanks Max, and Raul.

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