Mike Gerbino is a talented poet whose spoken performances are as raw and beautiful as any similarly crafted, moving piece of music or hanging work of art. We’are excited to have him perform this Saturday, March 2, at our PTNYC Fundraiser at Comedy Bar. In the mean time, get to know Mike as we ask him about his own work and thoughts on creative culture:
- What’s the importance of a creative/performative culture (in NY, America, Globally, Locally…)?
1) I think performance art is one of the most direct ways to touch people, especially when the medium is words. This is art that the audience has to deal with because it’s happening right in front of them, in a language that they have no choice but to understand. The impact begins locally with the people in your physical space and community. Then, with the internet, it goes global. A lot of my work relies on the assumed context of having an American experience, so, when taken in by someone who doesn’t have that context, the meaning might completely change. This connection to strangers is so important. As much as I use poetry as vehicle for my own opinions, feelings and intentions, I try to never lose sight of this connection I’m inevitably creating with the audience.
- What do you hope an audience takes away from your work?
I want my audience to feel like they’ve experienced something that came from an honest place. I’m constantly battling the insincerity that comes from reciting poetry on a stage. For me, it is an inherently unnatural thing with a ton of pretense, so I try to police myself for all of the cadences and pitfalls that take me out of it as an audience member. Same goes for the writing. I just want someone to walk away from my performance feeling like they just saw something with heart. Also, they should be entertained. There is nothing worse than boring honesty.
- How do you think having a Poet and/or Artist as a teacher can affect what/how someone learns?
I’ve been fortunate enough to have had many teachers who were also artists. More important than their methods or practices, teachers who are artists tend to know the importance of creativity. Obviously we want great artists to teach us about art, but I’ve found that a teacher who simply understands creativity is more likely to have an impact on a creative student, even if the subject is math. In my experience, the American school system encourages creativity in a very compartmentalized way, and then totally isolates those same students when they are struggling with non-creative work. The best teachers I’ve ever had were also artists, and they knew how to work with someone who uses their brain in a way that is less practical and more imaginative.
Interested in Mike’s work? Check out this performance of his poem Ugly Sunset on HBO’s Brand New Voices. And join us on Saturday for more!