Phantom Blog

October 2009

Viewing posts from October , 2009

Diary of a Billsticker – Princeton, USA

On this run, I was carrying poetry posters by four or five New Zealand poets. The poems were by Hilaire Campbell, Michele Leggott, Campbell McKay, Geoff Conchrane, and Janet Frame. I’m always proud to do this.

The day was very pleasant as I set off from Lambertville, New Jersey and up I-95 to Princeton. The trip takes about thirty minutes. Princeton is a beautiful town. The main street (Nassau Street) is good and wide and is dominated by the University. The town somehow just feels open and like there’s a good, clean breeze blowing through it.

Then, as I’ve often said, I enjoy poster runs and always come back feeling refreshed. There is an immediacy to the media. I believe in posters. The air always feels better to me after a poster run.

What do we know about Princeton? Well, this is where the physicist Albert Einstein lived from the late 1930s until his death in the mid-1950s. This chap helped engineer a letter to Franklin Delano Roosevelt in about 1940 that lead to the birth of the Manhattan Project (The Atomic Bomb). Through fellow scientists, he was alerted to Nazi progress on a similar scheme.

Einstein said many great things. He said:

“Imagination is more powerful than knowledge.”

“You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for War.”

“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.”

The poster run took three hours and I covered the notice-boards in the cafes, restaurants, bookshops, banks etc. I also placed posters on the bollards and through the English Department at Princeton University. I made a difference.

I was back in Princeton a few days later. I was just walking along when I noticed a poster on Nassau Street which stated that the author Joyce Carol Oates was giving a reading at the University. That’s the power, the spontaneity, and the immediacy of the poster for you. I set off for the lecture hall. Joyce Carol Oates is at the top of her league and has more than twenty books in print. She is legendary for her output.

‘JCO’ (as she is affectionately known) held everyone in the palm of her hand for forty-five minutes whilst she read a short story. I just thought that this reading was easily the equal of any live performance I have ever seen. I stayed afterwards for the nibbles and to get a book autographed.

I am thoroughly enjoying my time in the USA putting up poetry posters.


Keep the Faith,


Jim Wilson