Recently the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee asked me to come to their student union, set up my typewriter and type up poems for their students in honor of National Poetry Month. Additionally they asked if I could type a poem in response to each participant's dance move. When I asked what the music was going to be they said that there was no music to be played, just people dancing for me. So I brought along a crank style music toy that plays one song, "Greensleeves," and each time a student came up to me I cranked for them the ancient, morose tune. After they danced for me I'd write them their poem.
Last Saturday, undrea becker, a fellow typewriter poet from Decorah, Iowa came into town and we met for the very first time. As part of her visit we set up our typewriters at the Walker's Point Center For the Arts (WPCA) and composed spontaneous essences for anyone who came up to us and held a branch of bittersweet, a plant that undrea brought with her from Iowa. Over a period of 3 hours, 62 people (including a couple who wanted their essence as one person) got their essences read by us. 124 essences were transcribed on March, 12th, 2016! The event included a poetry installation of the essences of inanimate objects in WPCA from the art, to the electrical outlets and vents, bathroom fixtures and hallway. There was a table with cut up words and a spare typewriter so people could compose their own poems. And the thing that really brought everything together was the six piece band of musicians who had never played together, but improvised for the entire duration of the evening. The band, Spectron and the Nebulous Ones consisted of Anton "Spectron" Sieger, Erik Schoster/ He Can Jog, Micheal Bettine of Gongtopia, Jess Lemont of Be A Waterwolf, Jade Kästel and Dennis Tomashek.
Here are some of the essences... The succinct ones are by undrea, the longer ones are mine.
A slideshow of my poster illustrations for the event. I still have posters left so if you want one, email me email@example.com. Thank you to everyone for sharing your essences with us!
Here is some of the sound from the event:
Free public event, one night only!
When: Saturday, March 12th, 6-9pm
Where: Walkers Point Center for the Arts, 839 S. 5th Street, Milwaukee
Stand before a duo of writers and receive two typewritten interpretations of your physical presence as well as a musical one by Spectron and his Nebulous Band: Spectron Sieger on bass, Jess Lemont on drums, Michael Bettine on gongs, He Can Jig on pippi, Jade Kastel on accordion, Dennis on saxophone and Casey on guitar! Walk through a comedic literary installation that spreads out from the windows to the hallway to the bathroom. Create your own poem collages out of a pile of pre-typed words on colorful paper! Check out WPCA's current exhibition In//Out.
Decorah Iowa's undrea becker, founder of Insta-Poems and Milwaukee's own Anja Notanja Sieger & La Prosette both happen to be typewriter poets who compose instant literature for strangers at art fairs and farmer's markets. The two women recently met each other on Twitter and decided they ought to meet in the real and see what happens if they type for people side by side.
Live Radiowave Messages From Space performance at the Racine Art Museum, September 3rd, 2015. People would come up to me and I would ask them, "What would you like to know from outer space today?" The whole universe would not only receive the question, it would then send back an answer and my hair antennae would pick up the radiowave signal.
I was hired to go to a wedding and ask guests, 'How would you describe love?' Then, I wrote each guest a poem inspired from their response. Here are some of my favorites from the day.
People come up to me, tell me their name and then I stare into their face until a poem emerges. When I was finish I draw a picture of their face on top of the poem WITHOUT LOOKING AT THE PAPER, only at their face.