PTNYC Interviews Shane Hanlon for 3 Po3try NYC Event 4.12.14

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1. What one word describes your writing/performance style?


2. What are the best words on your writing anyone has ever given you?

“Come direct first, after that make it clever and sweet cause all the fun is in how you say a thing. Let the poem start in your chest, filter through your brain, then come out.”

3. What’s your idea of the most impactful poem?

Any selection from “The Spoon River Anthology” by Edgar Lee Masters.

4. Who are you on stage?

I am the best version of myself—speaking a prepared poem with force. The definitive “think before you speak, my son,” except as if a sweet grandmother had asked me, and the poem is my response.

5. What do you want the audience to feel from your work?

My audience can feel however they will I just hope they feel strongly and not anything negative towards me. Once you release words they are no longer yours. Everyone will understand them differently and you will drive yourself crazy stressing about the listeners understanding your words how you wanted them to. Don’t explain your poem, speak it with force and hope they like it, however they take it.

6. Where does performance drive your writing?

Personally, performance is the only way for my poems to be delivered. I did not study poetry. I learned it from listening to hip hop and taking the 45 minute train ride from my parent’s home in our Long Island suburb to watch Slam competitions in the city. Performance poetry is all I know, and it is how I write.

7. How do you put together a poem, where do you begin again?

It all begins with one beautiful stanza that hits you at a random time; which is to say never when you sit down and want to write. Maybe shaving, maybe in the bathroom while on a date, maybe while in the fruit section at C-Town. I live in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. It’s a classic Italian neighborhood down by the Verrazano Bridge and I get inspired all the time walking around that honest, old community.

8. What young contemporary writers are you influenced by, and why?

My favorite contemporary right now is Anton Yakovlev. He is a genius, performing all the time at open mics. If you are at a poetry reading and a shy-looking Russian bear of a boy steps on stage pay attention! You won’t want to miss a single line of his finely crafted poems.

9. How focused are you on the audience while you read?

I am working on that. It is hard not to just take your breath and get through your poem while on stage because all those eyes staring up make you nervous. I need to remember to enjoy my time in the spotlight, make eye contact, read slowly, and react to the crowd.

10. How much are you conscience of eye contact, body movement, tone of voice in your performance?

Use everything you have up there. Move around, scan the crowd, tremble, my son. If you are just going to keep your head down and read in a monotone voice, why are we sitting here watching you?

Don’t miss Shane Hanlon’s unique, powerful performance at 3Po3try NYC’s spring Poetry Extravaganza on Saturday, April 12 at the Pomegranate Gallery in Soho: CLICK FOR TICKETS & INFO

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