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beyond words, event, farmer's market, news, picture, poetry, princeton, travel, update

Beyond Words: Princeton Library’s Fall Benefit

Events have an allure which public spaces lack. In both instances, you are a spectacle; yet there is a distinct difference in how people react to and approach you. Public spaces offer a nonchalant curiosity, but events open people up rather immediately. Everyone’s behavior is influenced by the fantastic, not-so-everyday surroundings and atmosphere.

…plus, there’s alcohol.

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Last month, I was invited to type at Princeton Library’s annual benefit, Beyond Words. These photographs were snapped by Melissa; you can find her work through her website.

Yamile, a volunteer organizer, had seen me typing free poems for people at the farmer’s market in front of the library. She left a message for me where I worked, asking if we could meet. Soon after, we got the chance to talk about the library and Typewriter Poetry. Performing for the Princeton Library benefit was a no-brainer, as it’s one of my favorite places in Princeton (besides the cemetery).

I instantly fell in love with the theme for this year’s gala. The committee had conceived an evening mixed with greys, blacks, whites–all heightened by reds and book typography. I mentioned costumes and we came up with props, decorations, and layout. She wanted to know more about the act of pushing out poetry for a crowd. “There’s going to be over two hundred people,” she warned. “Can you keep up with that?”

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Typing for former governor of New Jersey, Christine Todd Whitman.

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Typing for the author Gary Shteyngart was quite the experience. People kept coming up to exchange words with him, ask for an autograph, request a picture. He seemed skeptical but curious about the free poetry process. When he read his poem, I watched his face reveal quiet appreciation, a secret knowing passing between us.

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The Beyond Words gala elevated Princeton University’s Frick Chemistry Lab into a literary wonderland reflected through timeless glass. Captivated by conversation, tapas and wine, attendees were enthralled by the night. Everyone bubbled in celebration of the Princeton Library, hazily taken away by live classical music, auctions, vendors, food, dancing, and free poetry. I’m honored Typewriter Poetry played a small role in the enchantment, even if it was for one night (and one night, only).

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Typewriter Poetry - billimarie - Princeton - Farmer's Market
farmer's market, medium poems, picture, poetry, princeton, travel

Fireflies, Home-Cooked Meals, Mathematics, & Mona

The day after rendezvousing at Rittenhouse Square in Philly, I felt sluggish, weary, cold, and uninspired. It took me a large portion of the morning to tap into my unknown energy reserve, then heave my typewriter over to the Princeton’s farmers market.

Sometimes all it takes is connecting with the right person to help you chart a course away from negativity and alienation. It wasn’t until Mona heard the dings and clacks of my typewriter that my outlook was, thankfully, altered.

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farmer's market, long poems, picture, poetry, travel

Meeting Mika (& Mobius Percussion)

Mika came up to me the first day I typed in Princeton. She was excited, alive–no hesitation in her stance or her talk. I admit, I was surprised to encounter someone like her in Princeton of all places. We connected with an immediacy reserved for those who fully recognize one another. (Full disclaimer: Mika offered me a delicious crepe while I typed for her, and also invited me out for drinks with friends later that night, so I might be a tad bit biased.)

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...basking in the last light of golden hour.
manifesto, philadelphia, picture, travel, update

Imagination Is The New Work

Photo by @tom_reifsnyder.

It starts and it ends like this. Recall the moment. Insert something mundane, play with contrast until vibrant. What is forgotten is just as important as what’s remembered—and there it is. There, among quiet Hare Krishnas who are waiting for scavengers like us to take flight with our tupperware full of free leftover vegetarian food—there we are, still firmly planted and caught up in conversation, the night a time without stars only lights a bright porch beaming down on us from the second story staircase—there is where a poetry we often name neurosis gives everything a terrifying idyllic trim and your words, a felt glow, strike me like deja vu, words grasping at the mind’s edges like kindling flame, a series of click click BOOM—

This was the year music
was revealed to me. I don’t

know if it’s possible
to live off Free Poetry.

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Artisanal LA Typewriter Poetry Billimarie Instagram
artisanal la, event, medium poems, picture, poetry

Artisanal LA: Autumn 2014

Artisanal LA Typewriter Poetry Billimarie The Social Booth CoA tremendous thank you to everyone who stopped by for a free poem at Artisanal LA! The Reef was full of passionate foodies and crafty vendors; what an inspiring mix of people to collide into. Every isle you meandered down beckoned you with some sensually stimulating substance. Scented spices, meats and cheeses–even goats! They nibbled you softly when you went over to say hello.

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Skyping Free Poetry

Free Poetry at WorldFest Los Angeles, 2014.

Free Poetry at WorldFest Los Angeles, 2014.

Several weekends ago, I got the chance to type at WorldFest for the second time (see last year’s “Koala” and “Daughter“). Since I knew what type of crowd flow to expect, I made sure to structure my time in an adaptive way. I set up two chairs instead of just one. I didn’t add people onto a waitlist, or even allow a line to form while typing. I focused exclusively on whoever was sitting next to me, and told anyone who wandered by that they would have to come back when the chair was empty.

I ended up typing only 10 poems the entire day–a drastic difference from my usual 50, 60 poems every two hours. I felt more of an emotional burnout than an intellectual one; living in someone else’s shoes is a lot more fulfilling to me than mechanically churning out as many adjectives as one can think up. I usually try to unearth first impressions out of five minute conversations. This time, interactions would last anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour. Think of the space that kind of time provides; it was amazing to witness stories, memories, thoughts, emotions, connections growing more and more tangible between us.

[skype]

Today I made a new Skype username: typewriterpoetry. If you’re on Skype, feel free to add me; the little icon above reflects my online status.

I’ll be available for an hour every day. I don’t have a set schedule, and I prefer it that way (as it reflects the spontaneity of when I set up Typewriter Poetry in the physical sense). Like TyPoInPo, it’ll be interesting to see who participates. Whether you’re a fellow blogger or a stranger lurking, hi! Hello! I’m looking forward to Skyping free poetry with you.

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picture, travel, update

Moved to New Orleans (?)

The first question people usually ask me after we’ve been talking for a while is “where are you from?”

“I’m from LA,” I always say, though now that I’m in Louisiana I wonder if I should be abbreviating it as “L.A.” in my head.

Whether it’s my clothing, demeanor, accent, or the fact that I use “dude” more than the average person should, everyone always nods their head in immediate understanding when I declare I am from California.

Inside a mausoleum.

Inside a mausoleum.

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news, picture, update

The Art of Letter Writing

There is an intricate dance I think most of us miss out on. That is the art of delayed gratification–or, in this specific case, letter writing and snail mail.

Yesterday, a wonderful present arrived for me. I wasn’t expecting it, and that certainly added to the initial gasp-shock-love-dream-daze sensation. It’s a sensation I usually associate with making intense eye-contact with a brave, vivid personality. In the haze of it all, my mind struggled to catch up and rearrange the circumstances.

An epiphany: I had received my letter from Remi.

Typewriter Poetry Envelope Remi Billimarie A Peachy Keen Day

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