On the Highline, New York City, 2016

                                                 On the Highline, New York City, 2016

 

 

Bill Keys, The Poem Guy

 

I discovered the lure of creative process through performance. In 1994 I graduated from the Naropa Institute with a degree in Monologue Performance.  Creating and performing one-man shows was my passion for years.  I actually wound up using my degree and experience professionally as a double-decker tour guide in San Francisco, where I had a microphone in my hand for seven and a half hours a day.  I loved that job, but I love the intimacy of writing more completely.


         As in the case of tour guiding, all my performances eliminate the "fourth wall" (the imaginary "wall" between the audience and the stage,  that typically puts the actors in another time and place as though the audience was not there).  I invite a dialogue, both spoken and silent,  with the presence of my audience.  The vitality and information that come out of that relationship orient my sense and subtlties of imagination.


        Though poetry is the lasting outcome of poeming, it is the performance, the relationship between me and the poemee, that is the true magic, and the source of the language.  When I consider the essential need of the poemees' request and presence, its clear that these poems are sorts of collaborations.  It is very rare that I have ever written for the sake of writing.  Writing for me is a living relationship, a performance.

 
He’s a bullshit artist that tells the truth
— Joe Pezzillo
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