Pay for your coffee with a poem

Poetize away on World Poetry Day, March 21. It makes the world a better place.

Text: Solveig Hansen, 2019

March 21 is World Poetry Day, as declared by UNESCO in 1999. On their website, they write, “Poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings. Poetry is the mainstay of oral tradition and, over centuries, can communicate the innermost values of diverse cultures.”

This is a day for reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry. Here’s a tip: Ask your local coffee shop if you can pay for your coffee with a poem, like you can at Julius Meinl every March 21.

An inspiring trinity: cafés, coffee, poems
Julius Meinl, an Austrian coffee company, has made their own twist and turns poems into currency on World Poetry Day. Like previous years, they again invite guests in their coffee houses — 1000 locations in 40+ countries — to pay for their coffee (or tea) with a poem come March 21. The initiative is called Pay With a Poem.

This year, they encourage us to put aside the phone and look up. Beautiful things can happen. Maybe you see someone interesting a few tables away in the coffee bar, or maybe a poem pops into your head. In addition, you might be one of the lucky ones to win a “Meet and Greet” with this year’s Julius Meinl ambassador, singer-songwriter Tom Odell.

One of last year’s participants to win a ticket to a concert with the then ambassador JP Cooper was Alena Mishkimoves from Russia:


Long tradition
Of course, 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. Pay With a Poem is a modern continuation of that tradition. The typical Viennese coffee house, with its marble tables and a variety of coffees, pastries, and international newspapers, represents social life at its best, Julius Meinl writes on their website.

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.

So, sharpen your pencils, have a cup of coffee, poetize away, and share your work: #PayWithAPoem



Julius Meinl provides red pencils to match their red coffee cups. Red shoelaces are cool. Picture from Julius Meinl’s Facebook page.


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