What This Is

My name is Tristan Bennett. I live and work in New Orleans, a city with plenty of local support for street artists.

fresh poetry is my literature/performance art/business venture. I write custom poetry for passersby, on a topic of their choosing, in exchange for a donation. For the most part this takes place on Frenchmen Street–a drag of bars and music halls in the Marigny–as well as in gallery spaces, museums and by request.

How it Works

I write all of my poems on the sidewalk, on carbon paper and keep a copy.  I set up a table and a chair and my typewriter and take requests from the drunk or happy or confused people who stop to talk and find out what I’m doing with a table and a chair and a typewriter on the street at 2 AM.

I end up giving people something close to Lucy’s 5¢ graft of Charlie Brown: a competitively priced therapeutic session and a unique work of literary and performance art.

The poems produced are transcribed here in near full fidelity, with a few minor edits for spelling or to correct any truly horrendous punctuation.

Dramatic Conclusion

If you have a poem I’ve written, or would like one, or would like to call me a poser, please email me at taft.bennett@gmail.com


5 Comments on “What This Is”

  1. notrachel says:

    You agreed to write me a poem and I walked away with my friend to give you some time. When we returned a middle-aged woman had just refused your poem so you were going to give it to me until someone told you to burn it. You lit the poem on fire and tried to read as much of it as you could before it ravaged the paper and you threw it onto the street while I squealed delightedly. I loved that poem and that performance. Thank you for an absolutely glorious introduction to your city–you have provided artistic inspiration of another kind for me!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I visited New Orleans in May and you wrote a poem for me about my cat, Maya, on the 26th of that month. She unexpectedly passed away two days ago and I am completely heart-broken. Thank you for writing such a wonderful poem about her. Reading it helps me remember parts of her that weren’t captured in photos. Thank you.

  3. Kelly G (FL) says:

    My boyfriend and I just enjoyed a weekend in the fine city of New Orleans and you wrote us a poem on life – we loved you and your concept (we were the couple that brought you a cocktail – you looked parched :P). I am sure we will keep the receipt paper for some time to come. 🙂
    Out of curiosity, do you have any poems already written on peace, love and happiness by chance?
    Anyway, hope you are still there on the next trip made to NOLA!
    Great meeting you and having the opportunity to appreciate your work!

  4. hey, I think you’re awesome. I think your poetry is great. I want to hit up portland in the next 365 days, so I hope I find you in the city somewhere. My friend Kaile does a very similar thing in Toronto. The collective unconscious is swimming with typewriter innovation and poetry.
    Love, Leah
    Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, bro

  5. Nectyreen says:

    You are truly a magnanimous inspiration. A real gem. I’ve never seen anyone type up fresh poetry on the street using a steampunk-esque typewriter. Just unbelievable, something from a strange, fever-dream. I discovered you via a youtuber called PianoAccrossAmerica. One day, when I visit NOLA, I hope to get a poem from you while I’m trying to sell on-the-spot sketches to passerbys. Good day! Keep doing what you do. The streets of lower NY are drying up, but people like you keep the streets of other creative hot spots alive.

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