Get a free coffee by writing a poem in cafés around the UK next week

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Anna Brech
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A cup of coffee

If you’re a poet and you know it – this one’s for you

A string of cafés across London and the rest of the UK are offering free coffee in exchange for a poem next week, in an initiative to mark World Poetry Day

The Pay With A Poem project aims to re-tap the art of writing in a digital age, and is encouraging wannabe scribes to express themselves on paper this March 21.

You don’t have to be the next Shakespeare to take part, either. Just by coming up with a few of your own original lines, you can earn yourself a free cup of the good stuff. 

Over 15 coffee roasters in London are taking part in the event, along with participating venues in the cities of Ilminster, Sheffield, Nottingham and Leicester. 

The enterprise is the brainchild of gourmet coffee producer Julius Meinl, in association with singer-songwriter Tom Odell. 

Now in its sixth year, the poetry drive comes amid concern that we’re losing our creative flair amid a slew of instant, throwaway #instaquotes – some of which have little to do with actual poetry. 

Woman writing in a coffee shop

Put your phone down and get writing

“The digital world is a space where I can sometimes struggle to find meaning,” Odell tells the Evening Standard. “We see dozens of song lyrics, quotes and verse posted on Instagram every day, but how many of us can say we actually feel connected to that?

“As anyone who follows me on Instagram will know, I am a real advocate of putting pen to paper,” he continues. 

“Whether I am at home, seeking inspiration over a morning coffee or travelling, I believe there is something very freeing in taking a moment out of the day to write.”

Want a little inspiration for your musings? Check out a few unusual wedding poems here, along with the best female poets to read in 2019. 

Find out which cafés are participating in the initiative by checking out Pay With A Poem’s UK map. Let that creativity pour forth… 

Images: Alisa Anton on Unsplash, Getty


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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.