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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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farmer's market, new orleans, poetry, short poems, travel

“Untitled” (February 13th 2014)

Last week, I gave away free Valentine’s Day love and admiration poetry at the Mid-City farmer’s market.

A huge thanks to Mois├ęs for giving me an amazing box of onionskin typewriter paper last year for my birthday…this was the first time I’ve used it. Love at first feel. The translucent, texturized, fragile essence made for a perfect poem this Valentine’s Day.

Here’s one of many poems I wrote during downtime.

Untitled: February 13th 2014 by billimarie typewriter poetry

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medium poems, national poetry month, poetry

“Friday The 13th”

A beautiful family picked me up on the side of the road in Lihue (Kaua’i), Hawaii. They even gave me $10 for the bus fare. I left them a copy of this poem underneath the bus bench they dropped me off at…hopefully they received it :) Mahalo!

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"Mindful Of Home" by billimarie typewriter poetry
medium poems, poetry

“MINDFUL OF HOME”

prompt: “I have traveled the earth with only a slight, compact bag at my shoulders that held a camera, enough clothes for tomorrow. I have dwelled and dined in cities where a constant flow of human traffic streaks by, as seen through a window. I have wandered endless fields that stretch to the horizon like the blue Pacific. and I am left to wonder, where is home?”

I broke my own rules for this poem. First I wrote a completely different one that focused more on traveling. then I tried the prompt again and got this little diddy

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