Typewriters & Poetry

Plattner typed this poem and then sent a picture of it to a friend to let her know he had successfully repaired her typewriter, named “Olie.”

Plattner typed this poem and then sent a picture of it to a friend to let her know he had successfully repaired her typewriter, named “Olie.”

Teacher and poet Eric Plattner has a collection of about 25 typewriters that he has “rescued”–typewriters of all shapes, sizes, manufacturers and decades found at local thrift shops or bought on eBay. Many of them came to him in a state of disrepair, so he taught himself how to fix them, taking them apart and putting them back together until they worked again.

Plattner likes typewriters because they provide a distraction-free writing experience – the kind you can’t get on a computer. They also don’t allow you to go back and edit constantly, so the writing tends to be less refined and more stream of consciousness, with the errors and typos there on the page for everyone to see.

“It’s unimaginable for me to use a computer to write poetry,” Plattner said. “It is the wrong tool. It would be like chartering a Learjet to go to the corner bar for a drink.”

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