26 Acts of Poetry: Cambridge woman drops poems around the MBTA to honor Sandy Hook victims

Jen Bonardi with a piece of poetry.

After the Sandy Hook shootings, Cambridge resident Jen Bonardi was inspired by a national campaign that called for “26 acts of kindness,” but she couldn’t figure out how to go about doing it.

She handed out $26 worth of Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards to strangers, but when that didn’t hit the spot, she came up with the idea for “26 Acts of Poetry.”

Last week Bonardi threw 26 folded poems on trains throughout the MBTA.

“I hope I didn’t freak anybody out,” she said. “Usually people feel like there must be a catch, or they shut everything out when they get on the T.”

The poems are written by 26 different poets, including Boston slam poet Erich Haygun, and each was dedicated to a Sandy Hook child or teacher.

Bonardi’s “26 Acts of Poetry” blog asks those who find poems to reach out and share their feelings.

So far, she has heard from two T riders, but she hopes more messages will come.

“Sometimes you don’t believe you’ve touched somebody until you’ve heard from them,” she said.

A woman from Winchester, Mass. reached out to Bonardi Friday, five days after the poems were scattered on the T.

“We found your poem! It was number 24, dedicated to Victoria S. It was lying on the floor on the Green Line in Brighton,” she said. “I wonder how many people saw it but didn’t pick it up. Feels like fate since I am normally in the office at that time.”

The woman said she shared the poem, “Lefty” by Paja Faudree, with her kids. It turns out Bonardi’s act of poetry fulfilled its goal to inspire.

“My daughter is seven and wants to leave poems on the bus now,” she said.


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