Tom Odell Backs Pay With a Poem This World Poetry Day

Platinum selling singer songwriter Tom Odell has joined Viennese coffee roasters Julius Meinl to encourage us to put pen to paper this World Poetry Day

World Poetry Day, declared by UNESCO in 1999, takes place annually on 21 March to promote the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry. So back away from the phone and enjoy a digital reprieve while you pen a short poem that could pay for your coffee.

The popular Pay With A Poem initiative, now in its sixth year, has seen hundreds of thousands of poems written since its inception in 2014.

The hashtag #InstaQuote has been tagged on Instagram around 11,500,000 times, accompanying the inspirational quotes and short verse poetry that pops up on our feeds.

25% agreed that writing something conveys more meaning than posting it online

But a recent survey by Censuswide on behalf of Julius Meinl revealed that, while over a quarter of under 34s would share as much as they would in a diary on social media, Millennials and Gen Zs worry that the posts don’t reflect their true self and lack emotion.

The survey of 2,040 UK respondents, also revealed that, of the same group, 25% agreed that writing something conveys more meaning than posting it online.

And that’s where Pay With A Poem comes in, encouraging us to take time out of the digital world to create something truly meaningful. Those who put prose to paper on 21 March can use their hand-written poem to pay for a coffee or tea in participating coffee houses serving Julius Meinl in over 40 countries.

‘The digital world is a space where I can sometimes struggle to find meaning,’ says Tom Odell.

‘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?’

‘I am a real advocate of putting pen to paper… The act of writing then means I am more considered in my approach to lyricism, and I hope that level of authenticity comes through in my work.’

Participating London locations include multiple branches of Balans, Beaufort House on Kings Road, Bite Café in Kensington, Bush Hall and Bush Theatre in Shepherd’s Bush, Goodenough College on Mecklenburgh Square, Monalicious in Wimbledon and Middleton Deli in Brockley.

For more on Pay With A Poem, see or follow the hashtags #PayWithAPoem and #PoetryForChange

From Barack to Baywatch:
The A-listers Who Pen Poetry

For years, household names and famous faces have been finding a creative outlet in reading and writing poetry. Actors, models and presidents have unleashed their imagination in writing, banishing the myth that poetry is reserved for the seasoned wordsmith. Take inspiration from these A-listers…

1  Barack Obama
Long before his political career, former President of the United States Barack Obama made a brief foray into poetry. His two published works, Pop and Underground, were written during his university years, when he was likely in search of a creative outlet, providing much-needed light relief from the stacks of political textbooks! Perhaps the previous President will now recapture his adolescent literary talents? Stay tuned!

2 Beyoncé
Beyoncé has been picking up the mantle of poetry in addition to her glittering career in music and film. In her critically acclaimed cult album Lemonade, the singer catapulted poet Warsan Shire into the spotlight. Featuring Shire’s talented works, Beyoncé brought the spoken word artist’s works into the mainstream. Naturally, the singer chose none other than Shire’s work as an accompaniment to her surprise pregnancy with twins.

3 Daniel Radcliffe
Writing under the pen name Jacob Gershon, it was revealed that Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe was moonlighting as a poet on the side of his film career. He told the Guardian: ‘As an actor, there is room for a certain amount of creativity, but you’re always ultimately going to be saying somebody else’s words. I love to write short stories and poetry, because those are my two passions. There is an art to a short story.’

4 Pamela Anderson
Pamela Anderson is a woman of many talents – an actress, model, animal rights activist – and part-time poet! Penned in 2014, Anderson published a 1,209 word epic poem that chronicles everything from love to Playboy and cautionary advice (‘never marry a rich man’). Although not explicitly mentioned in her work, many think her poetry was inspired by her split from her then-husband Rick Salomon. The Baywatch star unexpectedly made her literary debut by sharing her work with her fans via her Facebook page.

5 James Franco
Alongside his career in film, the Hollywood heart-throb has been making waves in the poetry world. His debut collection of works, Directing Herbert White, was released in 2014. Franco, who has a Master of Fine Arts degree in poetry, has found a creative outlet in his prose and is a natural to the world of poetry. He portrayed legendary beat poet Allen Ginsberg in the 2010 film Howl – named after Ginsberg’s most infamous work.