She hopes the Telepoem Booth encourages others to become artists as well.
“A lot of people write poetry, but maybe they don’t see themselves as published poets,” she said. “When there are things like the Telepoem Project and other types of public art, people say, ‘Yes, I can do that.’ We are not only the audience for it, we can also be the creators, as a community. “
Keith Lesmeister, a Decorah resident who teaches at Northeast Iowa Community College, also has a poem featured in the booth.
He said the accessibility of the Telepoem Booth – it’s open to the public for free, 24 hours a day – can facilitate connections between writers and listeners.
“You don’t need to have a subscription; you don’t have to pay to see or read, ”he said. “I think it’s a wonderful way to connect the general population with poetry and creative writing.”
Mulgrew also requested permission from the booth creators to add more poems by local poets to the booth’s repertoire.
“We hope to fill the phone with Dubuque poets soon,” he said. “I think it would add an interesting local appeal.”
According to Mulgrew, the Telepoem Booth is the first step in a larger poetry initiative that Voices Productions hopes to unveil in the coming years. This could include street performances by “world-class poet slamers” and public presentations by local writers.