If you’ve been out and about downtown these past few months, you may have been lucky enough to bump into “The Poet on Main Street.” While that isn’t his official moniker, that is pretty much what you can find Curtis Kaiser doing downtown.
A mechanical engineer by way of Texas, Kaiser — who moved to Lexington in 2020 — has taken it upon himself to help generate some smiles to passersby downtown by writing + giving out free poems.
“I truly am out here to try and make things less crappy. There’s not enough free stuff that’s good out there,” Kaiser said. “And maybe other people will be inspired to do poetry, or just try and do other good things for free.”
We were lucky enough to catch Kaiser downtown on Wednesday evening + he explained the process in two quick steps:
- If you spot him, say hello, then let him know the topic you want your poem to be about.
- Wait for around 6-10 minutes, and you’ll soon be gifted with your own unique poem straight from his typewriter.
“This is kind of an accidental thing. I had a typewriter from an old retired Bell Engineer in Texas who gave me one,” Kaiser said. After letting it sit for years, he finally turned it on, and the rest was history.
He listened to typewriter podcasts, did a deep dive into typewriter websites + forums, and bought a few varieties to find his favorite.
Kaiser likes to keep things a mystery, so being at the right place at the right time is your best bet in snagging a poem. “It’s spontaneous. You have to be there to see it,” he said.
There’s no set schedule and no social media (although that might change, we’ll keep you posted). For now, it’s like Where’s Waldo, but Curtis and his typewriter. Keep an eye out — rumor has it he might be popping up at Greyline Station soon.