Q: You came here directly from returning on the Megabus from Chicago. What were you doing?
I just needed a recharge. Sometimes I need a break, and I always go there and hang out. I always try to do something artistic there, but it didn’t happen this time.
Q: When did Fresh Breath Poetry get started?
It started back in 2006. A friend of mine, Nathan Hewitt, who lives in Chicago now, kept asking me about doing a show. Mars Cafe wanted to do something along the lines of a spoken word show, but not like an open mic night. People would actually rehearse and be ready to go and perform.
He asked me a few times and I said no. Finally on the third time I said yes and it was actually a lot of fun. Some of the poets in our first show are still performing now. Like Vivette Perry, she’s been with me since the inception of it.
Q: So is this something you do just once a year?
I try to do two a year. I always try to do them close together. You have to come up with concepts for these shows, otherwise it’s just a bunch of randomness. The second show we did was “Howl of James Brown,” for the theme of the show. It was the 50th anniversary of “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg, which is an eight-minute poem. I tried doing that poem, and it was so hard. I was like “I will never do that again.”
Q: The stereotype for poetry seems to be professors in tweed jackets or serious black turtleneck- wearing poets in coffee shops …
It’s kind of stigmatized, where people don’t want to go because they think if it’s poetry it’s going to be boring. A lot of people don’t realize it’s all interpretation. You can make it anything you want. The people I work with are all really good storytellers. You’ve got to keep your mind open.
Fresh Breath Poetry: Throwback
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Vaudeville Mews, 212 Fourth St.
More info: iamartlint.com