How my Poetry Got Into Stores


photo courtesy creative commons

It was 1994. I went to visit my friend, Arlyce.

While there I quoted her one of my poems, I Have These Holes.

“You have to do something with this,” Arlyce said.

Knowing my husband Mike was an artist she said, “Why don’t you take some of your poetry and put it with Mike’s art?”

A collaboration

A couple weeks later, Mike and I stood in a print shop beaming, as we watched our first piece of poetry art come out of the printer.

I showed the finished pieces to friends who liked them. I took some to college where I was a returning student. I’d bring them there and sometimes bring home money.

One instructor asked if I’d share my poetry at her home. And “poetry parties” were born. I created invitations she would mail out to her friends.

I would share stories of my life, intermingled with my poetry. People connected and then would purchase the pieces.

At another poetry party, five women bought my piece, I’d Marry You Again.  At the bottom of the piece was a drawing of two people holding hands. It was Mike and I. He held my hand while drawing with his other hand.

The first company

“I’m going to show this to my boss,” Nancy said.

Her boss was the owner and creator of Creative Calligraphy.

“That’s fine,” I answered, though inwardly I had already decided I didn’t want to work for anyone.

I have to smile when I think about how God stretched me. Creative Calligraphy became the first company interested in my work. I was paid a monthly amount for the use of my poetry. Later it reverted to royalties.

A turning point

One fall my friend Jenny asked me, “Are you going to be in the craft show? There will be so many people there because of Pumpkin Fest.”

“I don’t have the money,” I answered.

“You have to be in it,” Jenny insisted. “I’ll pay your fee.”

Packing my rubbermaid tubs with framed and unframed pieces, I did the two day show. Selling over $350.00 worth of poetry. Little did I know where it would lead.

A letter

A couple of days later I received a letter through the mail.

You don’t know me, my name is John Larson. My mother-in-law recently saw your work at a craft show in Sycamore. She was so impressed she told me I had to see it. I was wondering if you’d be open to a meeting with me.

John Larson owned a gift company that produced poetry on plaques. He wanted to pay me for the use of my poetry. Again my poetry was in more stores all over the place.

And John introduced me to a second company. A company I have been with for 13 years and counting. And still another company contacted me just two years ago. No longer am I afraid. Experience has been a good teacher.

A phone call

I once wrote a paper entitled, To Publish or not to Publish: A Poet’s Dilemma.

The majority of sources stated people could not make money writing poetry. In my stubbornness, I decided to prove them wrong.

But on my way to doing that I discovered what matters. Touching people with my words.

The phone rang some years back. A man’s voice began,

“Is this Anne Peterson? I heard you might know where I could get a copy of the poem,
I Have These Holes.

“Where did you see the poem?” I asked.

“It was in a funeral home,” he said quietly.

“Who did you lose?” I had to ask.

“My son.”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” I told him. “When did you lose him, may I ask?”

I caught my breath when I heard, “Two days ago. You see I read your poem and can’t get it out of my mind.”

Our words can touch others. But in order to do that, we have to share them. We have to take a risk.

What risk are you willing to take?

33 thoughts on “How my Poetry Got Into Stores

    • Kath,

      You know it was fun to reflect on all of it and to be reminded who it was that opened doors. All of this was done before the internet was advanced like it is now. I mean letters were sent by snail mail! Did that hinder God? Nope. I just think it was amazing how doors would open if I would just do the next thing. When I had the poetry parties, it was really something. I never had to try and sell my pieces, they just wanted them. The speaking is the key. Because the stories connect people.


  1. Anne, this is so touching, heartwarming and hopeful! How inspiring to know your words have touched and changed lives. You give us fellow poets hope and courage to share our own words too! Bless you for sharing your story and for the wonderful way your work is being used to help others. 🙂 xx


    • Joy,

      The funny thing is, I was just responding to a comment Mary made. She asked me to post how I got placed in stores. I just never realized how much it would encourage me to be reminded of who opened the doors. It’s a “David” thing. Remembering God’s hand in former things. Thanks for reading. I was hoping it didn’t come across braggy. I really know it was God’s hand. So there was a little risk in putting it out there. But then, how can I write about risk, and not risk? Easy. I used to do it before. 🙂 Thanks for reading and for your comments.


  2. Joan,

    Thanks for reading it Joan. Someone on another site asked me if I could write about how I got in stores. I have to say writing it all out really encouraged me too. I needed the reminder that God is the door opener. It also reminded me of all the ways God has orchestrated things concerning my writing.


    • Joanna,

      You’re right poetry can touch someone’s heart and soul. And who knows the person’s heart better than the one who created it. God can use the right words at the right moment because he is the God of all time. He knows exactly what someone needs to hear. If it wasn’t for God we’d have nothing to say or write. Thanks so much for reading, and for your comment.


  3. Oh, Anne! This really touched me today. I have been holding back because of fear. Many times I have walked through stores and wondered how other people have done it.

    And I need to lose my fear of the speaking part. Right now I can’t imagine who would want to hear me speak.

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us. You give me hope that someday I will see my writing making a difference in people’s lives.


    • Anastacia,

      Thanks for your comment, Anastacia. It’s funny. People have been congratulating me since I wrote that blog. And honestly, I didn’t see myself as a success. Why? Because I was using a different measuring stick. I was thinking I would be successful if I had a book of my poetry out there. When I spoke my husband looked at me afterwards and said, “This is what you’re supposed to do.” And I felt like he was right. Then when I moved I had to start all over and honestly, there was always something that seemed to prolong it. I just want to believe that I can do the next thing and God will show me what to do. If I gave you hope, I’m so glad, Anastacia. I really am.


  4. Anne, I needed to read your blog this morning. Congratulations on your success with your poetry. Through your words you are speaking to people. God do know what is best of each one of us. There is an Afrikaans saying; “die mens wik maar God beskik”. In essence it means that God has a plan for our lives and we can do what we want, but in the end His plan is the right one.
    Why do we always second guess ourselves and not once in a hill say to yourself. You know what (self) I did it and I am proud of myself. I am like that too.
    Anne, you are a wonderful poet. You inspire and encourage and your compassion shows in your poems and everything you write.
    I am glad that your words are ‘out’ there. they are making a difference in people’s lives.
    Thank you.


  5. My one word for this year is risk. Your words were very meaningful. The story of the man who lost his son and remembered your words was so poignant. Thank you for sharing your journey. I stopped over from Jeff Goins group!


    • Thanks for stopping over. I have been blessed to have people contact me and let me know how the words touched them. Not long ago I got an email from a woman who had miscarried. She saw my poem, “Just the Same,” and said, “I just wanted you to know you really get it.” I understood how it felt because I miscarried a child. But sometimes I put myself in another’s shoes and write about it.


  6. Great story Anne. You show that you need to take the journey and see where it leads. Be willing to share our art with others and let the results land where they may. Thanks for sharing part of your journey with us. I always appreciate your words.


    • Troy,

      Thanks for reading Troy. It’s interesting how writing about your own journey can get you to see it differently. It was good for me to remember how it all started, and who it was that orchestrated everything.


  7. Pingback: The Fellowship of Christian Bloggers | How our Writing can Bring Glory to God

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