The 37-year-old president of Magnetic Poetry is a singer, songwriter and rock band member who came up with the idea of words glued to magnetic surfaces to facilitate his own writing. Instead of cutting out words from magazines-and destroying his work with a giant sneeze-he tried sticking his words onto magnets.
Six years later, the company expects to sell upwards of $6.7 million of the tiny mix-and-match word sets that come in versions from double-sided kids' kits (flip the words and teach the synonyms) to Shakespeare.
There are 60 versions, from Yiddish to a kit for cooks. There's even a large-type Bumper Poetry for taking words onto the road.
Indeed, there are poetry-bearing Volkswagen Beetles promoting the product by touring the country bringing "Emergency Metaphor Technicians" to the rescue of would-be poets.
Two years ago, Magnetic Poetry walls starting appearing in cities as part of promotions for National Poetry Month; Workman Publishing Co. collected amateur poems as Magnetic Poetry's "First Book of Poems." Some 200,000 copies to date have been sold.
In all, Magnetic Poetry spends about $200,000 on special events, promotions and publicity, handled by Kohnstamm Communications, St. Paul.
It "is a lot less intimidating than staring at a blank sheet of paper trying to write," says Mr. Kapell. "It's an opportunity to give people a chance to be