Telepoem Booth – Just Dial and Listen


Have you ever walked down the street before and all of a sudden was surprised when your eyes caught an old phone booth? They kind of sneak up on you. It is not that common to see a phone booth hanging out on the streets anymore (especially in a fairly good condition) and it is even less common to see someone use it. Except for the Telepoem Booth…

Telepoem Booth might be the most popular little phone booth nowadays.

Six weeks after opening, there have been almost 3,400 poems dialed in the Telepoem Booth. That’s 555 poems a week, 80 extra poems a day. I can’t help but think the world is a better place with all these poems being listened to! –  From the Telepoem Booth Facebook Page

Telepoem Booth is a vintage phone booth from the 70’s that allows you to dial up a number and listen to someone reading a poem to you. 80 different poets recorded 220 different poems that you can listen to while sitting in the booth. Some of the poets read their own poems, some of them share their favorite ones written by someone else.


The booth idea popped out of a local artist, Elizabeth Hellstern’s head in September, 2015. It was set up on March 25th, 2016 in a very prestigious location in Flagstaff. You can find the booth on Beaver Street, resting its back on the wall of one of the most popular coffee shops and bakeries, Macy’s.

telepoem booth

My friend, her son, and I went to check the booth out the other day and there was just something magical about it. Telepoem Booth is like a little time capsule. You step inside, sit down and once you start dialing and especially when you start listening, it feels like you just went decades back in time.


First of all using a rotary phone was the greatest ever! It is so much fun to dial on it (not the fastest way but fun)! It brings back all the good memories of me playing around with my grandparents’ phone.  I guess that is the feel kids get nowadays playing around with the smart phones…except that the rotary phone had only one game on it 😀

“People don’t really dial [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][today], they just push. There’s no real kinesthetic feedback,” Hellstern says. “I was around so many kids who had so much fun dialing a rotary phone in Mesa, and I think it’s really cool to bring touch back into society in a really fun, new way … I also am a very haptic-type person. I think it’s very good and wise for us to explore all senses. This is filling a need, I think, for the public.” – Hellstern, AZ Daily Sun


Second of all…how many of you still reads or listens to poetry on a regular basis?  Most people don’t do that anymore (I am guilty of this myself with the exception of some rare occasions) which is so sad. There is so much to poetry! Every time I sit down, read a poem and take the time to understand and embrace it, I feel more from it. I guess this is just something that “we don’t have time for” anymore, which is a shame because we get so much peace and information out of it.


Sitting there all I could think about was how crazy that I will have to explain my children what a rotary phone was and how sad that reading poems is kind of going out of style. My grandparents still know a lot of poems by heart and when I close my eyes I only see my dad’s aunt sitting at the table, holding a book filled with poems, reading them over and over again and that picture just warms my heart.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here