When Wendy Morton’s first book of poetry, Private Eye, was published in 2001, she knew she had to find some way to turn her poetry into currency. She called up WestJet Airlines and suggested that she read and write poems for for the passengers in exchange for flights. After some enthusiastic urging, they said yes, and so she became WestJet’s ‘Poet of the Skies’. She has turned her poems into currency that has given her a PT Cruiser from DaimlerChryler, luxurious hotel rooms from The Fairmont Hotels, vitamins from Prairie Naturals, a digital camera from Fuji to name but a few. The queen, in Alice in Wonderland, says to Alice, ” Why, when I was your age, I imagined 6 impossible things before breakfast.” Wendy imagined that poets all across Canada could commit “random acts of poetry” on strangers: read them a poem and give them a book.
In 2004 and 2005, 27 poets across Canada did just that with the sponsorship of abebooks and an anonymous sponsor. Random Acts of Poetry became a national week long event celebrating literacy – and continues to be celebrated today.