Text: Solveig Hansen, 2016
Coffee and poetry go hand in hand, and cafés are not new venues for writers and artists. For more than a century, poets and writers have found their way to these establishments to write, drink and socialize. “Inspiring poets since 1862,” the Austrian coffee company Julius Meinl has created their own coffee & poetry twist, called Meet With a Poem, and encourages people to go to the Meinl poetry app to create a love poem and use it as their Facebook profile picture today. That will earn them a free coffee for two at a Julius Meinl coffee house.
Leading up to the day, people were also invited to tweet (#MeetWithAPoem) a funny pickup line that Meinl’s own poetizer would turn into a poem. I love these: “Are you tired? Because you’ve been running through my mind all day!” “I must be in a museum, because you truly are a work of art.”
Julius Meinl is also known for their Pay With a Poem initiative. On March 21, the World Poetry Day, their coffee shop guests can pay for the coffee – or tea – with a poem. This year, they collected more than 100,000 poems in 34 countries.
Vienna has a rich coffee house culture that since 2011 has been officially included in the UNESCO National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage. On their website, Julius Meinl describes the typical Viennese coffee house, with its marble tables and a variety of coffees, pastries and international newspapers, representing social life at its best. “It is a place where all sorts of individuals meet to discuss their dreams, to reflect on their thoughts, to share their ideas, to compose masterpieces, to read or just to quietly sit and watch our colourful life happen.”
This is my Twitter-short coffee poem, that I keep recycling at all “coffee & poem” occasions:
You bring me coffee
I bake you cake
I eat your coffee
You drink my cake
Then we practice
the art of conversation
(Zol H, 2013)
I really need to come up with a new one. Maybe a cup of coffee will boost my inspiration?
Sidebar photo: Padurariu Alexandru/Unsplash.com