The inspiration for this poetry project comes from two sources.
The first is a brilliant Esquire magazine interview/article of Mr. Rogers (yes, THAT Mr. Rogers) by Tom Junod that was published in the November, 1998 issue. Entitled “Can You Say…’Hero’?”, the article includes a short passage in which the reader learns that for as long as he can remember, Mr. Rogers has weighed 143 pounds:
This has happened so many times that Mister Rogers has come to see that number as a gift, as a destiny fulfilled, because, as he says, “the number 143 means ‘I love you.’ It takes one letter to say ‘I’ and four letters to say ‘love’ and three letters to say ‘you.’ One hundred and forty-three. ‘I love you.’ Isn’t that wonderful?
(Of potential interest, the Esquire article is the inspiration for the Mr. Rogers movie released in 2019 starring Tom Hanks.)
Anyway, that’s the origin for the 143 part of this project.
The second inspiration comes from a poetry concept in which you make a copy of a page from a book you like and blacken out most of the words. You choose the blackening mindfully, though, thus leaving behind words that form a poem. In this way and in a fashion, you are collaborating with the book’s author to write this poem.
So this blog is the merging of those two ideas. The page from which your poem is created is 143 of your chosen book!