The Single Line


(514) 451-5463 // (514)-45 “1-LINE”



The Single Line is a public service poetry project based in Montréal. This month’s installation, which features Christian Bök’s Warning, is a clinic of the prospected long-term project we hope to instate in the Fall of 2013 once we are granted funding.

Each month, The Single Line hosts a single poet reading a single piece in the place of a traditional answering machine greeting, currently recorded on the recently obsolete Nokia 3555 flip phone model. The number is shared virally via social media online, and will be spread through city space using stickers stuck to payphones, telephone poles, as well as inside literary hotspots. People will see the stickers, or the posts online, and dial the phone number to hear the poem. Callers are encouraged to leave messages, which will all be digitally archived alongside the poem and become accessible online at the month’s end.

The Single Line will circumvent traditional reading spaces and allow for either a very closed reading experience or else one that is influenced by the caller’s volatile environment at the time of the call. The Single Line acknowledges the efforts of John Giorno’s NYC Dial-A-Poem project, but seeks to provide an archive that preserves a caller’s response (or non-response) as well as the poet and the poet’s poem at the time of recording.The Single Line means to capture, archive and examine both sides of the privatized interaction in the space of publicly accessible virtual memory.

The launch (and clinic) of The Single Line for April 2013 occurred at the VAV Gallery during the Off The Page poetic event, hosted by Concordia University and Public Poetics on April 4th 2013. Warning by Christian Bök can now be accessed via the number (514) 451-5463 [514-45- “1 LINE”]. Bök’s piece is an implausibly perfect contribution to marks the start of our series. We will thank Bök forever for this. His short bio. follows.

Mega-thanks to Sina Queyras for offering a venue to realize the beginning of The Single Line, and to The English Dept. at Concordia University for support.

The Single Line has been conceptualized and executed by Ali Pinkney and Michael Chaulk. If you would like to be contacted with the link to our archive at the end of the month when the poem and phone line will expire, please e-mail us your own e-mail address at

The site:
Our Twitter: @thesingleline.



Christian Bök is the author not only of Crystallography (1994), a pataphysical encyclopedia nominated for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, but also of Eunoia (2001), a bestselling work of experimental literature, which has gone on to win the Griffin Prize for Poetic Excellence. Bök teaches English at the University of Calgary.

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