Dial-A-Poem was a telephone service created in the late 1960s by John Giorno.  Fifteen phone lines were set up to play back a random poem from a selection of live recordings. 

As a part of the exhibition "Ecstatic Alphabets", MoMA is offering three different versions of Dial-A-Poem: 

  • custom-made telephones installed for visitors to use in the gallery
  • a telephone number for people to call using their own telephone
  • a web-based system for playing back random poems

The new system includes approximately 200 old and new poems written and read by Vito Acconci, Laurie Anderson, William Burroughs, David Byrne, Cabaret Voltaire, John Cage, Nick Cave, Allen Ginsberg, Philip Glass, Brion Gysin, Deborah Harry, Hüsker Dü, Patti Smith, Sonic Youth, Tom Waits, Frank Zappa and many others.

To experience Dial-A-Poem, please come visit the excellent exhibition (May 6–August 27, 2012), visit the Dial-A-Poem page in the exhibition subsite, or simply call 1-347-POET001 (1-347-763-8001).

The system was built using Twilio, and Dan Phiffer's wrapper for Soundmanager2sm2.