A Craigslist Ad For a Poem

Esther Cohen, a writer/poet in New York City, profiles a delightful experience in answering a Craigslist ad, seeking a submission for a poem. The prize? A cool $10,000.

On the day of the Craigslist diversion, my poem was “Pre-Used”:

And now, at this point
insane moment of age and longing
cusp and pinnacle
when my arms are different arms
when my dreams are always interrupted
longing becomes more than longing
I can no longer do this
or that as much as I still want to
I wake up wondering how
I no longer care so much about why
when a day is not just a day but right now.

Contestants were told to upload their poem and include a brief cover letter explaining what they would do with the prize money. I also had to write a few sentences about myself and my theme. I’m getting older. That’s my theme. It didn’t need much more explanation. With the $10,000, I would write more poems.

A few weeks later, close to midnight on a Tuesday, a mysterious e-mail arrived.


“You have been selected as one of the 11 finalists chosen from the hundreds of entries we received. We would like to meet you this Friday, July 26th along with the other finalists at 5PM.”

The note gave an address in Chelsea, near the High Line.

She goes on to the specified location to meet two hosts by the name of River and Whisper. An evening with flowing drink and food ensues. I love this story because while Craigslist gets a bad rap for scams, there are, occasionally, amazing gems waiting to be discovered. Highly recommended.

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