On May 5, 2012, on the day I turned 40, I set out by bicycle from Amherst, Massachusetts and rode for 40 days and more than 1,200 miles to Milwaukee, Wisconsin toting a typewriter behind me. Along the way, I stopped in communities, set up a mobile typing booth, and invited people to contribute their words to a growing poem.


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TYPE RIDER: Cycling the Great American Poem



Where did this idea come from?

When I was a teenager, my dad put a typewriter in the hallway that linked up all of our bedrooms. The hallway was a landing spot at the top of the stairs, a shared space that served as a kind of pause between our gatherings as a family and the solitude of where we each slept. He put the typewriter on a desk against the far left wall, scrolled the paper in, and started the first lines of a short story. And each night, I’d go over to that desk, peer at the paper, see what someone else had written, and add my own words. That story and the stories that followed fed my imagination, drew me more deeply into my own creativity, and created an inextricable bond between those of us who wrote it together. And the experience of collaboration has been an ongoing source of inspiration in the way I share my work and help others tap into their creative voice.

Why Milwaukee?

It happens to be the birthplace of the typewriter.


Why did I do this on a bicycle?

I loved the idea of slowing down enough to really see where I am, to go at a pace that allowed for a deeper engagement with my environment. It also felt important to match the analog technology of the typewriter with the foot-powered technology of the bicycle.

Why 40?

Because reaching a milestone like this - or any kind of milestone for that matter - offers up an invitation to stretch into new territory and at the same time to engage more deeply in the work that we love, and to celebrate the passage of time with a positive, physical, creative, and invigorating journey.


May 5 Northampton, MA/Westfield, MA May 24 Cabot, PA
May 6 Collinsville, CT May 25 Butler, PA
May 7 New Milford, CT May 26 Youngstown, OH
May 8 Mahopac, NY May 27 Garrettsville, OH
May 9 Fishkill, NY / Cold Spring, NY May 28 Shaker Heights, OH
May 10 Montclair, NJ May 30 Huron, OH
May 11 Morristown, NJ May 31 Elmore, OH
May 12 Clinton, NJ June 1 Monroe, MI
May 13 Frenchtown, NJ/Doylestown, PA June 2 Detroit, MI/Dearborn, MI
May 14 West Reading, PA June 3 Ann Arbor, MI
May 15 Cornwall, PA June 4 Jackson, MI
May 16 Middletown, PA June 5 Marshall, MI
May 17 Carlisle, PA June 6 Three Rivers, MI
May 18 Fannettsburg, PA June 7 Elkhart, IN
May 19 Wells Tannery, PA June 8-10 Chicago, IL
May 20 St. Clairsville, PA June 11 Waukegan, IL
May 21 Johnstown, PA June 12 Kenosha, WI
May 22 Black Lick, PA June 13 Milwaukee, WI
May 23 Apollo, PA