Jahvon Graham & Jordyn Torcasio
(Buffalo, N.Y.) — A passion for poetry has led to an interesting career for Mathias Svalina, a Colorado-based poet who travels the country delivering poems by bicycle.
He has traveled to cities like Richmond, Chicago, Austin and Tucson and now he has brought his Dream Delivery Service to Buffalo.
Svalina appeared on the Buffalo Review May 11 to discuss his love of poetry, which started at a young age.
“I was that annoying high school kid that was always writing in his notebook trying to get kids to read his poems,” he said. “It has kind of been the fabric of my life for the past couple decades.”
Svalina was working as an adjunct creative writing instructor at the University of Colorado, but wanted to do more with his skills.
He said his plan to start the Dream Delivery Service began as a bit of a joke before he realized how far he could take it.
“I was kind of just broke,” he said. “I just love biking between cities; doing long distance biking, being alone and the kind of meditative state that you fall into and a sense of purpose and loneliness that comes out of it makes me feel good.”
Throughout the month of May, Svalina will by riding his bike throughout Buffalo delivering poems in the early hours of the morning, typically before dawn.
“It is important to me to commune with the city when it is empty,” he said. “I love having this weird way of relating to a city where I learn this route very well…it is part of the whole experience for me.
“I get to have this very extended and unique relationship to the city that only I am having.”
When a person subscribes to Svalina’s poem delivery service they can choose either a dream or nightmare, depending on the type of poem they want to show up on their front door in a little pink envelope.
Poems delivered daily by bike, to subscribers within a four-mile radius of his home, cost $45 per month. Those outside of the radius can have them delivered by mail for $60 per month, but nightmares cost $3.75 extra.
Additionally, 10 percent of every subscription is donated to Planned Parenthood, he said.
While in Buffalo, Svalina will also conduct a few workshops at the Just Buffalo Writing Center, including one for teen writers and one for adults trying to develop a daily writing ritual.
“Daily writing rituals build an element in life that is consistent,” he said.
Another workshop will teach students to incorporate dream logic and strangeness into their writing.
“Taking strangeness and silliness seriously and what happens when you treat them as a viable and profound element in writing,” said Svalina.