We all know about the Continental Divide, which separates the watersheds of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. But Across the Great Divide—the project we hope you will take part in—reaches across a human not a geographical barrier. Families and friends are divided politically as never before in our lifetime. Across the Great Divide aims to set aside labels and find a way for us all to talk and listen to one another again. Maybe it’s a crazy idea, but the stakes are high, and maybe this simple idea of a hand and a poem can spark some thoughtful conversation and, potentially, some positive change.

Our project begins with a hand like this one, reminding us of our most basic commonality:

Across the Great Divide is a way of communicating with those you may disagree with by offering an olive branch—a creative, personalized insight into yourself—to someone you know with different political beliefs. You can, of course, also send postcards to people you agree with. Have fun and help us Cross the Great Divide!

How does it work? IT’S EASY! Click on the link below


Be as creative as you can in coloring in the digital hand with your viewpoints. Fill out the hand with a few mouse clicks, using the colors you want to fill in the words that represent your social views and political beliefs. One participant had fun with the model and colored in all the words, however contradictory.

You’ll see the word “poem” when you flip the card over. DO NOT BE INTIMIDATED! Just draw on your memories and start a few lines with “I am from. . .” and go from there. There are no mistakes. If you’d like to read your poem at an Across the Great Divide open mic, please join us on May 10th at 7:00 pm. Learn more here.

Some respondents have no trouble dashing off a few lines to create their poems. If you are having trouble getting started, you can set up a simple phone or Zoom interview with one of our resident poets and get some assistance. We then send you a poem based on what you said, for you to edit. Write us at acrossthegreatdivide@citylore.org if you want to take advantage of this option.

The next step may be the most important: whom you send your postcard to. You can send it to anyone, but you may want to reach across the aisle, start a conversation with someone you think might fill the hand out differently from yourself. You may want to send them a separate email urging them to participate and then have them send their card back to you.

If you need more detailed instructions, visit our FAQ page or email us at acrossthegreatdivide@citylore.org.

To learn more about the project, read Steve Ze

As Jayne Wallace, who filled out her hand as a liberal from Florida, wrote in her poem,

I am from ordinary people with extraordinary dreams, some realized, some not.
I am a regular American who knows we can do better.

And as John Henin, who is all for the wall, law and order, and traditional marriage, wrote,

I’m for what this country needs
I am for something working
If this poem can work, I’m for poetry