On Tour

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The Independent Culture
I've just been on a national tour of the States, although with a different group of poets to the one that's coming to England. It started in January, the first trip was to Portland, Oregon. We had an audience of 300 people at a converted movie theatre - there were lines around the block. The audience stood there for two hours, listening to poetry and eating popcorn. That's when I saw that it was crazy and that people were responding to the spoken word very well. There's not much rehearsal going on. You can imagine some people in their motel rooms, going over their lines, not for me. I just write it down and read it as properly as I can.

The weirdest gig was in a bookstore in North Carolina, where a lot of the conservative parents came out with their projections of what being black or latin was like. They came across as being very racist, it was almost kind of ludicrous.

I've been performing poetry since 12th grade, but I only started doing it professionally in 1990 when I started out in the Nuyorican cafe in New York. It's a a bar where they play music late at night. I'm not quite sure what the criterion was as far as making the selection for who should go to London. Our style is a very live, very active type of delivery. It's not a rap style, though.

My poetry is urban in its outlook, I was born in East Harlem and if it gives you an inkling of what it's like to live in East Harlem then maybe it's successful.

WP, aka Word Perfect Willie Perdomo is one of the five Nuyorican poets performing at ICA, London, SW1 (071-930 3647) 2, 3 Sept then touring nationally to 21 Sept

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