Poetry is Necessary – Bumper Sticker Philosophy

Bumper sticker car parked in Santa Cruz, Calif...

Two years ago our trusty 7-passenger white van was totaled by a snow plow, and with its demise an era ended.

When I found out I was pregnant with our 5th child, one of the first things we said to each other was “We’ll never fit in a ‘normal’ car again!”. And it was true. But after the van totaled we realized that we were down to a family of four, soon to be three. Our three oldest had flown the nest and another was heading that way, her graduation imminent. While we were car shopping we discovered three little words that had a big meaning – No.More.Van.

We transitioned in size fairly well, adjusting to a five-passenger PT Cruiser, but to this day there is something about that white van that we miss:the bumper sticker.

Let me explain that we are not bumper sticker people; we prefer to express our theology and philosophy of life verbally rather than through anonymous bumper stickers that declare to the world strong sentiments without the softening that is the human connection. But this bumper sticker was an exception. This bumper sticker was different. In simple black letters this bumper sticker shouted to the world: Poetry is Necessary”. 

My husband came upon it at a Slam Poetry event one evening in Phoenix and, despite his resistance to bumper stickers, bought it on the spot.

Three little words that verbalize to the world something of the importance of art, not in a way that is defensive or confrontational, but in a way that people can understand – and smile.

Poetry is Necessary – such an excellent way to live, always recognizing the artist among us. Recognizing in three simple words the unsung poet; the need to take the difficult in life and portray it in lilting words; the need to speak the language of poetry to sometimes make life bearable.  Poetry is Necessary.

Bumper stickers as a rule are not necessarily kind. They tend to anonymously proclaim to the world disdain for other ideologies and beliefs. Consider the following:

  • “Spay and Neuter Republicans”
  • “Christians: Ya Can’t Live With ‘Em, Ya Can’t Feed ‘Em to the Lions Anymore
  • “I was an Atheist until I Realized I was God”
  • “Jesus Loves You But I’m His Favorite”

And then by stark contrast in black letters on a white background are the words “Poetry is Necessary”.  Now those are words and a philosophy to live by!

What bumper stickers do you have or have you seen that make you smile instead of cringe? Lend your voice to the comment section.


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13 thoughts on “Poetry is Necessary – Bumper Sticker Philosophy

  1. I so badly want Poetry is Necessary on my bumper and Reading is Sexy. The reading is sexy sticker only has a blonde with straight hair though and that just won’t do.


    1. Totally agree with not wanting the blonde with straight hair!! We’re trying to find another one and haven’t been able to although a friend says she’ll get us one. So glad you too love the bumper sticker! Maybe we’ll both get lucky and find one.


  2. “Where am I? And why am I in this basket?” Growing up in Iowa I always heard the expression, ‘Going to hell in a hand basket.’ What is a hand basket anyway?


    1. I love this! I’ve actually said to my kids many times that WE had the cool music. Compare “Imagine all the people” courtesy of John Lennon to “Baby, Baby, Baby, ohhh” courtesy of Justin Bieber….I’ll say no more.


  3. My all time favorite bumper sticker was on the back of an 18-wheeler, transport truck that said, “Drive it like you STOLE it!!” You didn’t know this simple country girl had a secret desire for speed, now, did you??


    1. I love this for two reasons – first because it’s a great bumper sticker and I wish I had it, second because it has brought out this whole other side of you which makes me amazed and happy about the complexity of people! Thank you!


  4. The best one I ever saw was on a Toyota Highlander Hybrid, with a whale tail license plate, in Cambridge, that said: “I never thought I’d miss Nixon”. I loved it!


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