Comments: 321 • Responses: 78 • Date: 2013-04-17 22:06:47 UTCsource
Crozius47 karma2013-04-17 22:12:20 UTC
I just want to say thank you, Shane. Keep doing what you do.
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Koyczan25 karma2013-04-17 22:24:31 UTC
honestbleeps35 karma2013-04-17 22:07:35 UTC
Shane, this is a long post but there's really a question in this. I hope you'll read it. Yes, I had it typed up in anticipation of your AMA.
When I first saw your poetry in "To This Day", I was floored. You articulated so many things that are true to my life that I've never been able to explain in quite the way you've been able to.
I grew up a scrawny, runt of the litter sort of kid, so I felt like a freak. So much so that as early as 9 or 10 I was already having thoughts of self-harm. I was beaten and taunted mercilessly from the first day I entered public school. The bullying lasted all the way through high school, be it physical or mental. I spent a full decade of my "childhood" trying to find different routes out of school, and different routes home from school to avoid the harassment, the name calling, the beatings... I was probably 16 before I broke 100lbs - defending myself wasn't a realistic option.
I'm 35 now, and it's only in the past 5 years or so that I've really started to come to terms with how the years of mental and physical abuse have shaped who I am. At the time, it was just what life was. It has taken years of escaping that hell for me to see exactly how it has shaped me as a person, for better or for worse (mostly worse I'd argue). Fortunately for me, I found a better life once I started college and (mostly) escaped the bullying. I'm mostly happy these days, but I still find myself affected by the past in ways both subtle and not.
I've started to recognize my difficulties with handling actual lighthearted jokes that hit me personally, my fear of abandonment, my inability to trust anyone, my "people-pleasing" tendency / addiction / neurosis, and my inability to fathom the idea that someone might actually, truly just LIKE me... not actually want/need something from me...
Even now, I'm still sorting it all out. That may sound utterly ridiculous to anyone who hasn't been through something like this, but from a purely scientific perspective, my brain had been in fight-or-flight mode 7 days a week from the time I was 9 years old until I was 18 or 19. I had been told repeatedly, day in and day out by peers and adults alike that I was ugly, hideous, a freak, etc. You don't just "get over it". Not ever. That woman talked about in the "To This Day" poem who will never believe her loving husband truly finds her beautiful? I get that.
My past has colored how I react to criticism, how I deal with authority (e.g. a boss at work), and how I react when I see others being harassed (I will, at the potential detriment of my safety, speak up reactively and without thought, and there is virtually nothing I can do to stop that). It affects so much about who I am, but I've only started realizing it over the past several years - putting the pieces together and saying "ah, that's why I freeze up when I see aggressive body language from someone who's upset about something trivial", etc...
So, finally, my question: I don't expect you to be a psychologist or an expert or even more knowledgable than I am on the subject just because you're a fantastic poet -- I'm just looking for your a peer's opinion: how did your past color your present? Do you feel that things in your daily life are affected by that past? For example: the way you react to stress, or to aggressive people, etc? If you do feel it has affected you: for better? Worse? Have you tried to take steps to counter any of it?
For what it's worth, I created /r/bullied a long time ago hoping people my age who were interested in hearing about others pasts and how it affects them today, but it never really took off. Maybe this time...
EDIT: Also, why /u/Koyczan instead of /u/ShaneKoyczan which you'd already created? Just curious :-)
Koyczan17 karma2013-04-17 22:15:16 UTC
I'm not sure I deal with stress any better than anyone else. I think we all just develop ways to cope with what we experience. I was fortunate enough to find a healthy outlet that was more creative than destructive.
Koyczan27 karma2013-04-18 00:33:08 UTC
Thank you all so much for your kindness and thoughtful questions. I'm sorry I couldn't answer all of them but I have a rehearsal to attend. We will most certainly do this again. I love you reddit... if we were out in public I would hug you long enough that people would start to stare... and then I would hug you more.
m__16 karma2013-04-17 22:14:24 UTC
I've been a big fan of yours for a while, had no idea if I would ever see you perform live, living in Scotland as I am. Last summer I happened to be in Edinburgh during the Fringe festival, and totally serendipitously I saw your name on a poster, panicked, and immediately bought a ticket.
After the show you signed a CD for me and shook my hand, chatted briefly and were a class act.
I don't have a question, just thanks. And come back to Scotland soon.
Koyczan22 karma2013-04-17 22:31:18 UTC
Wow. Thank you so much. You just made my reddit!
KittehSkittles13 karma2013-04-17 22:30:44 UTC
I just want to say first that I love you. You're so great! You're the poet that started my obsession with spoken word.
My question is: Is Sarah real?(From My Darling Sarah) You speak with such conviction about her and it breaks my heart every time I listen to it.
Koyczan16 karma2013-04-17 22:58:35 UTC
dalvikcache10 karma2013-04-17 22:10:19 UTC
Hi Shane! Big fan. I liked you when I heard To This Day, and I adored you when I heard The Crickets Have Arthritis. Thanks for sharing your incredible art.
I'm an aspiring poet myself, and I was wondering how much you revise your poem after its initial draft. I have a hard time knowing when it's time to let go and let the poem be what it is - I never feel like I'm truly done because there's always something I can fix or improve. How do you gauge when it's time to move on?
Koyczan14 karma2013-04-17 22:22:48 UTC
I think the time to move on is after you've said what you need to say... you may not have said as perfectly as you would have wanted but if you feel like you've got your point across I think that's a pretty good finish line. Keep in mind you don't always need a point that everyone will understand... sometimes it's just for you.
colonelchibbers8 karma2013-04-17 22:11:26 UTC
Koyczan24 karma2013-04-17 22:20:04 UTC
She just went on a date so yeah... I guess so.
Fototaken8 karma2013-04-17 22:11:56 UTC
I imagine a lot of people tell you how much they admire your work and/or you, so my question is, who do you look up to? Who inspires you? :)
Thanks so much for doing this AMA!
Koyczan27 karma2013-04-17 22:16:39 UTC
I love Charlie Chaplin... there's a guy who made his words count.
paperstarships7 karma2013-04-17 23:16:48 UTC
FYI: The way you use words and the way you're always looking for opportunities and the confidence you have in who you are while still being heart-breakingly modest makes you a ridiculously attractive person. (Your answers here just reflect all of that.) Thank you for existing in the world I exist in.
Koyczan8 karma2013-04-17 23:55:15 UTC
Wowzers. Thank you.
InNoHurry6 karma2013-04-17 22:09:14 UTC
Hey Shane! I saw you at your show at Algonquin College in Ottawa and it was fantastic! thank you for coming
My question is: as a poet myself, I sometimes get tired doing just one 3 minute piece.
How do you not get tired performing so many poems, some of which are 7 minutes long?
Koyczan8 karma2013-04-17 22:16:04 UTC
Just keep creating material and rotate the pieces you perform.
Not_in_Portland6 karma2013-04-17 22:21:39 UTC
Hey! Last year you worked in part with my high school to make a video Instructions for a Bad Day following a rash of teen suicides in my area.
What went though your mind over the course of this project?
Koyczan5 karma2013-04-17 23:47:06 UTC
I was just amazed to see so many people coming together to create something. It was very healing.
colonelchibbers5 karma2013-04-17 22:13:25 UTC
Koyczan32 karma2013-04-17 22:26:41 UTC
I'm an atheist but I don't have any problems with others believing what they believe.
colonelchibbers7 karma2013-04-17 22:27:31 UTC
Koyczan8 karma2013-04-17 23:43:06 UTC
AlexQMcD5 karma2013-04-17 22:14:08 UTC
Hi Shane! Thanks for doing this!
I'm part of a group of poets with the mission of spreading spoken word out of the underground and into spaces where it can be enjoyed by everyone. So many people have never heard of spoken word when I tell them about it, which I think is very unfortunate, because it is such a powerful art.
What do you think needs to happen, or what can poets do, to help spoken word see the light? How do we get it out of the underground slam scenes and into spaces where everyone can enjoy poetry how deserves to be enjoyed?
Koyczan10 karma2013-04-17 22:28:26 UTC
Invade open mics... there are so many places and audiences who have never been to a poetry reading... take the poetry to them.
zachinacubicle5 karma2013-04-17 22:44:41 UTC
Where does the neckbeard stop?
Koyczan18 karma2013-04-17 23:35:40 UTC
Where the sidewalk ends.
allsmilesandsunshine5 karma2013-04-17 22:39:44 UTC
I had all these questions to ask you last night, but now that I've slept overnight and worked a full day, I forgot them all. So instead, I'll just let you know that I love you. Your words constantly help bring me back from the deeper, darker places in my mind. Thank you for that, Shane.
Also, I have a friend who is one of your biggest fans. She wrote a spoken word poem dedicated to a childhood friend of hers who died of cancer. It's a lot like your poem about Louis, and she even references The Crickets Have Arthritis. It's a really amazing thing to watch her perform. If you're interested (/if you even see this), I could ask her to type it up and send it to you, or I could send you the amateur recording we made of it. I think she'd just about have a heart attack if I told her Shane Koyczan wanted to hear her work. :)
Koyczan8 karma2013-04-17 23:25:37 UTC
you can post it on my facebook... it may take a while for me to get to but it will be heard... not just by me... she has to be brave enough to share with everyone.
awk_topus4 karma2013-04-17 22:07:03 UTC
What was the happiest moment of your life?
What is your second favorite food?
What is your definition of love?
Favorite item of clothing to see on men? Women?
Did you ever own a lava lamp?
Purple or beige?
Current favorite song?
I'm writing/auditioning/potentially performing a speech for my graduation ceremony. Any recommendations for young performers who want to make the best out of a presentation?
Sorry about that.
Koyczan30 karma2013-04-17 22:13:19 UTC
Happiest moment: not sure I've had it yet.
definition of love: being covered head to toe in elephant poo and getting a hug anyway.
Favorite item of clothing: Glasses (I feel a sense of family)
Lava Lamp: Yes... once upon a time. It was my Grandma's
Current fav song: Vaka by Sigur Ros
Recommendations: watch Charlie Chaplins speech from The Great Dictator.
pancakehangover3 karma2013-04-17 22:20:57 UTC
now that i know you like Sigur Ros.. i like you even more
Koyczan4 karma2013-04-17 23:59:16 UTC
I'm hoping that one day I can collaborate with them.
eterpage4 karma2013-04-17 22:11:03 UTC
Hey Mr Koyczan! Thanks for doing this AMA you awesome person you.
I have two questions, first, When did you get into poetry? I first saw you perform help wanted online in 2007, but when did you realize you had this gift?
Second, Can you just record yourself reciting a few of your poems? Maybe the older ones? I would pay good money to hear visiting hours being said by you in an album. Especially this one:
Edit: I meant visiting hours the book, I know you and the short story long actually did do the poem in your last album.
Koyczan8 karma2013-04-17 22:24:23 UTC
There is an e-book/app of my entire first book Visiting Hours coming out and it will have an audio recording of every piece in the book to accompany it.
colonelchibbers4 karma2013-04-17 22:31:55 UTC
Koyczan3 karma2013-04-17 23:06:30 UTC
realistic_hairballs2 karma2013-04-17 22:56:17 UTC
also came here to say this. so, ditto.
Koyczan2 karma2013-04-17 23:49:22 UTC
zachinacubicle4 karma2013-04-17 22:10:26 UTC
How long does one of your poems go through the practice stage before you perform it.
Koyczan15 karma2013-04-17 22:17:19 UTC
Sometimes no practice at all... sometimes the best performance comes out of doing something raw for the first time.
zachinacubicle13 karma2013-04-17 22:19:50 UTC
Damn Koyczan Just described my sex life! and answered the question.
Koyczan7 karma2013-04-17 23:42:02 UTC
two birds with one stone... dinner for two.
justplainlovely3 karma2013-04-17 22:13:08 UTC
Hi Shane! I posted on your facebook picture just a minute ago, but I wanted to come here and ask my questions, haha!
How long have you been writing?
What was your first poem?
3.What is your favorite word?
ALSO! I am a spoken word poet myself, I would LOVE for you to hear my stuff! (I would mean more than the world to me!!) I only have a few things on here, but I'll be recording more stuff soon!
EDIT: fixed the link!
Koyczan5 karma2013-04-17 22:19:31 UTC
I've been writing for a long while... not always poetry though. My first poem was about a whale I believe but that's all I can remember about it. My favourite word is Preposterous. I'll do my best to check it out but I get a lot of requests so it may be a while.
nerosen1083 karma2013-04-17 23:28:32 UTC
Please come live in my closet and talk to me when I'm sad. I will make you cookies in return.
Koyczan2 karma2013-04-17 23:53:54 UTC
That is the sweetest invitation I've ever had. Thank you.
Escalotes3 karma2013-04-17 22:20:35 UTC
Hey Shane, two questions:
1. How much do you miss the Hog's Breath?
2. Would you ever apply to be Canada's poet laureate?
Koyczan4 karma2013-04-17 23:46:13 UTC
I miss the Hog dearly. I don't think you apply to be laureate... I think you just get appointed.
JensenL3 karma2013-04-17 22:24:35 UTC
I love you Shane!!! I love "Tomatoes" from your latest album. It is so profound, yet simple and clean; purely beautiful.
Koyczan5 karma2013-04-17 22:34:41 UTC
gingersmom3 karma2013-04-17 22:26:41 UTC
When are you coming to NY?
Koyczan5 karma2013-04-17 22:35:02 UTC
working on it. Soon I hope.
OllieDem3 karma2013-04-17 22:08:46 UTC
I guess you could say I'm a reasonably new fan of yours, having only known about you for around a year and a half but as soon as I heard your poems I knew I was a fan for life.
I discovered you at quite an important time in my life as I was just beginning a relationship with my girlfriend. We used to listen to your poems and fall asleep together to your voice. I couldn't have been happier and so not only do your poems elate and inspire, but they hold personal memories that are extremely important to me.
I'd just like to say thank you for this because your poems were something that bought us closer together and for that I would give anything.
I've since bought your three latest books which are incredible. (I found Visiting Hours for reasonably cheap online, although I heard it could be expensive?)
My only question is, do you have any idea when/if you're going to be in England doing shows?
Thanks again, Ollie.
Koyczan3 karma2013-04-17 22:34:21 UTC
I'm working on it. It's hard to find poetry promoters.
MissCys3 karma2013-04-17 22:31:40 UTC
From a new teacher:
What suggestions would YOU give for dealing with bullies in school? Sometimes we feel caught in the middle - we often can't punish bullies based on heresay, but something needs to be done.
Also - did you have any particular teachers who helped with the situation? What did they do to help? What could have been done better?
PS - at the middle school where I did my student teaching, the students LOVE "To This Day." :)
Koyczan8 karma2013-04-17 23:06:08 UTC
My librarian was a great help to me. She gave me ways to escape and encourage my creative side. I learned that bullies are generally sad... all they know how to do is destroy... teach them to create and it will bring out the greater qualities in them.
RhysKinsey3 karma2013-04-17 22:14:44 UTC
Koyczan5 karma2013-04-17 22:33:37 UTC
zenithyoda3 karma2013-04-17 22:14:39 UTC
Who is your biggest literary influence?
Koyczan11 karma2013-04-17 22:33:25 UTC
They keep changing. I fall in love with words almost daily.
collectiveblend4233 karma2013-04-17 22:23:11 UTC
Hi Shane! Fellow Pen Hi graduate here. :) Your work was an inspiration for me in English class, and I was wondering: Would you ever consider a film adaptation of one of your poems? Your stories are truly inspiring and "To This Day" was visually stunning. But I wonder if you could ever see your work translated in a character-driven approach?
Thank you for inspiring the world with your beauty.
Koyczan2 karma2013-04-17 23:48:49 UTC
Film is the medium I'd like to move into so I'm definitely open to it.
tkesmalls3 karma2013-04-17 22:18:11 UTC
Shane, Are you planning on coming to San Francisco at any point in the near future?
Koyczan7 karma2013-04-17 22:40:41 UTC
I'm trying to organize an entire US tour but it's difficult because the US takes 30% of your fee right off the top so after hotels and travel expenses, food and etc there just isn't a lot of wiggle room to make it affordable.
Crozius6 karma2013-04-17 22:58:02 UTC
Shane, if there's any way for you to crowdfund/Kickstart a US tour, I'd back it in a heartbeat. I suppose the difficulty with this would be that you'd end up having to hit pretty much every state to make it work.
It might be something to look into.
Koyczan4 karma2013-04-17 23:45:14 UTC
I'll do some research.
realistic_hairballs3 karma2013-04-17 22:48:57 UTC
As a Dan Mangan fan, I know you and Dan are close friends. How influential has he been to your work (and vice versa)? Do you ever help each other write?
Koyczan2 karma2013-04-18 00:02:48 UTC
Dan doesn't need any help writing... he's fantastic. Sometimes when we hug we have trouble letting go... we're like velcro.
joabaldwin3 karma2013-04-17 22:34:23 UTC
Hey Shane, any plans of performing around California anytime soon?
Koyczan6 karma2013-04-17 23:16:18 UTC
working on it.
thedinnerdate3 karma2013-04-17 22:16:21 UTC
What is your favorite sandwich?
Koyczan5 karma2013-04-17 23:44:36 UTC
Grilled turkey and cheddar with a little bit of dill.
udopian3 karma2013-04-17 22:14:22 UTC
Thank you so much for doing this AMA.
1. Which poem of yours are you most proud of
2. What parts of writing came naturally to you, and which parts did you have to work on?
Koyczan7 karma2013-04-17 22:30:29 UTC
I'm not sure which parts come naturally. My granddad once said that perfection is the result of taking 100% effort and making it look effortless... it takes a lot of work to get it to that point... I'm still working on it.
assumes2 karma2013-04-17 22:44:24 UTC
I've seen you preform live twice. Both times your energy really controlled the room. Do you have any specific advice that helped you gain confidence on stage when you were starting out? Best drink to control pre-performance jitters - beer or whiskey?
Koyczan3 karma2013-04-17 23:36:39 UTC
I don't drink these days and I never do before a show... oddly a banana can have a very calming effect on jitters.
LordBahumat2 karma2013-04-17 22:35:17 UTC
Shane, you give great hugs. :)
Thanks for signing the big-ass poster my group brought to Edmonton. You made us all really happy. And thanks for the sit-down chats and hugs you were giving after your show. You really go the extra mile in being approachable.
Koyczan3 karma2013-04-17 23:17:47 UTC
No probs :)
occasionalsupernova2 karma2013-04-17 22:36:06 UTC
Hey Shane, you're a marvelous inspiration. "To This Day" came at a time in my life when I was struggling with this idea that everyone who had ever jeered at me, sneered at me, and called me a name was right. That poem helped to reinvigorate the feeling of confidence and courage I had forever been known for by my peers.
Do you perform regularly, or are you on more of a sporadic schedule?
Edit: also, have you ever heard from the boy from "The Crickets Have Arthritis" since leaving?
Koyczan4 karma2013-04-17 23:19:30 UTC
My schedule is sporadic unless I'm doing a full tour. I'm sorry to say that I have not.
Gneisti2 karma2013-04-17 22:45:48 UTC
Hi thanks for the poem dude. Question: What is the best way to forgive someone that bullied you when you were a kid?
Koyczan5 karma2013-04-17 23:33:08 UTC
fully... the best way to forgive is always fully.
barachaser2 karma2013-04-17 22:33:13 UTC
Hey Shane! Kind of a private thing, but you did say "anything"... Do you feel any sexual attraction to males or has it been and always will be just women?
Koyczan5 karma2013-04-17 23:14:17 UTC
Females feel natural for me but who knows? To quote Louis CK "Maybe I'll do the last half gay."
iArpitJ2 karma2013-04-17 22:33:46 UTC
Shane, Im a relatively new fan of yours.. Just wanted to ask, is the choice of you becoming a poet by choice or triggered by faint memories that you used into channeling into this form?
Koyczan3 karma2013-04-17 23:15:15 UTC
I never set out to be a poet but I've always been drawn to writing.
Hailyderpson2 karma2013-04-17 22:39:33 UTC
Hi Shane! Sorry if this question has already been asked, but did you think the "To This Day" video would become as popular as it did? Were you expecting so much good feedback? Amazing video by the way!
Koyczan3 karma2013-04-17 23:22:54 UTC
I'm just happy that it's reaching the people who need it.
mcketten2 karma2013-04-17 22:44:50 UTC
Shane, I'm a writer (not a poet) and a former bullied child myself. I want to take this time to do two things:
One, thank you for "To This Day" - it brought me to tears, not an easy feat these days.
Two, compliment you on your writing. You really make use of words like an instrument. Keep it up, it is inspirational!
Koyczan2 karma2013-04-17 23:35:06 UTC
thank you so much.
OhMyMikkelsen2 karma2013-04-17 22:45:04 UTC
You are amazing!
Will you marry me?
Koyczan2 karma2013-04-17 23:34:45 UTC
That depends... will you have any objections to a traditional betazoid wedding?
LivsMOM2 karma2013-04-17 22:46:58 UTC
So thankful for all that you do. I feel so fortunate to have attended several performances. Each new friend I bring is amazed to witness your talent. Please never stop what you do! Are you performing in Alberta this summer?
Koyczan2 karma2013-04-17 23:31:12 UTC
Thanks for all your support. I believe I have a show in Banff this summer but am unsure on the date.
HIM112 karma2013-04-17 22:36:43 UTC
Mr. Koyczan, fist I would like to tell you that your poems have pushed me though some vary hard parts of my life expectantly during September of 2011 when my best friend toke his life. Things like that reminded me to Shut up and say something. My question to you however is how do your poems manifest into being? Do you sit down with what you want to say already in mind or is it something less concert?
Koyczan2 karma2013-04-17 23:22:27 UTC
I generally have an idea of what I'd like to say before I start writing but sometimes the pen just moves with no sense of direction.
daniftw2 karma2013-04-17 22:29:26 UTC
Just wanted to say thank you for your inspirational words. I adore you and your work.
Koyczan4 karma2013-04-17 22:51:58 UTC
AnonymousKae2 karma2013-04-17 22:29:44 UTC
One of the reasons I moved back to Canada and into Kelowna was to be able to see you perform live- so here's to fingers crossed to an eventual show!
I left a message for you at your last AMA, and it meant the world that you responded. It was one of "those things" that was kind of a highlight for me - still is. So I'm still saying 'thank you', and maybe next time I'll be able to talk to you face to face.
No questions, just support. Hope all is well, and you're still going strong.
Koyczan6 karma2013-04-17 22:53:00 UTC
Thanks so much... I'll be working on an a show with an Orchestra out there so I hope you can make it out for that... won't be for a while though.
nipnot2 karma2013-04-17 22:46:35 UTC
First of all; greetings from Kelowna BC.
Did you spend your entire childhood in Penticton? Are you still a current resident of Penticton?
Koyczan2 karma2013-04-17 23:32:35 UTC
I spent my childhood in Yellowknife. I moved to Penticton when I was 14 and have recently move back. I travel a lot so it feels like I'm never here.
mbue2 karma2013-04-17 22:34:18 UTC
Do you have any plans about coming to the UK/Europe?
How about recording an audiobook? Your voice is so calming! :D
Also, my girlfriend would like to know what your favorite gummy bear color is.
Koyczan5 karma2013-04-17 23:16:01 UTC
Working on it. Green is the best gummy bear... green is the colour of will.
lightmyfire2 karma2013-04-17 22:13:15 UTC
I want to thank you for coming forward with your story and being an advocate for others who have undergone the pain and trauma of bullying. I am going into the social service work field and aspire to be a counsellor for children who are being bullied - to offer them something that I never had when I was victimized in my childhood. Thank you for being an inspiration and I look forward to your future work :-)
Koyczan2 karma2013-04-17 22:24:49 UTC
kop5005002 karma2013-04-17 22:32:40 UTC
Hi Shane, I'm a huge fan. You are the reason I started writing spoken word poetry, and I've been performing them at coffee shops for a few months now. I lay no claim to how good these pieces are, and I'm certainly never going to be able to transpose the human condition into language anywhere near as masterfully as you, but do you have any advice for a starving author that's just starting out? (sidenote, you've had a huge impact on my writing, as now I write about the beauty of life rather than pointing out the inevitability and tragedy of death)
Koyczan3 karma2013-04-17 23:10:15 UTC
Just get your words out there. Stickers on bus benches or open mics... whatever it takes.
TiredDad19672 karma2013-04-17 22:17:06 UTC
Hi Shane, let me say first, I have enjoyed all of your writing I have encountered. You have a definite gift with words. What is it like to have so many people open up to you and let you know how you have inspired/helped them? Is it strange or does it push you on?
Koyczan2 karma2013-04-17 22:36:17 UTC
It's overwhelming sometimes but it helps push me forward in the darker moments.
musicalredditor2 karma2013-04-17 22:17:52 UTC
Hi Shane! I am a huge fan of your work. Whenever I read and listen to your work, I am inspired to write. A few weeks ago, my parents were convinced that I was receiving a form of bullying from whom I thought was a close friend. A short while after that painful conversation, I found your video "To This Day" and even though I am not the recipient of such harsh bullying, it did hit close to home. It was a thoroughly moving and wonderfully composed work. Some of your other poems (Tomatoes, More Often Than Sometimes, etc.) have made me wonder about so many different topics and emotions. I have never been so emotionally attacked (in a good way!). I'm sure you will be bombarded with questions from so many redditors, but I was wondering if you could give any advice to an aspiring teenage writer, such as myself, or to any writer for that matter. Thank you for everything that you have accomplished and contributed to the world!
Koyczan5 karma2013-04-17 22:38:54 UTC
My advice is to always be asking questions until you need to stop asking because everything around you is trying to give you an answer.
Topha2 karma2013-04-17 22:18:56 UTC
How do you compose your words? Do you write them down on a paper as how you would speak them, i.e. line breaks, etc, or do they just come out as one big sentence? Mainly wondering about when you write things down initially. Having trouble writing because of this.
Also: My Darling Sara gave me the will to put pen to paper after 10 years of nothing. I appreciate you.
Koyczan5 karma2013-04-17 22:42:06 UTC
I tend to ignore grammar when I write poetry so often a line break will function as a natural pause of breath for me.
iambic_bananamer2 karma2013-04-17 22:29:12 UTC
I was wondering, does all of the expression that you put into reading your poems come naturally, or do you sort of have to practice being charismatic?
Also, I just wanted to say that I love your poetry.
Koyczan6 karma2013-04-17 22:49:44 UTC
I want to say it comes naturally but in the framework of your question that may come off as egotistical. I think allowing yourself to be present can draw a kind of magic out of you that happens naturally.
TITTY_BUTTHOLE2 karma2013-04-17 22:29:55 UTC
Could we have some words to guide us through the recent Boston tragedy?
Koyczan9 karma2013-04-17 22:56:35 UTC
I'm not sure how effective language is at the moment. There's nothing I can say to soothe the ache of those who are injured and grieving. I can't promise justice or even understanding. I can just hope that our hearts are all moved a little closer to mercy.
ace352 karma2013-04-17 22:30:36 UTC
Thanks for doing this AMA and for all of your inspirational words. I was wondering how long it takes you to develop your poems? Also, would you say they are more free-flowing or do you tend to make a few edits along the way?
Koyczan3 karma2013-04-17 22:57:50 UTC
I tend to write it all out in one go and then go back and add layers.
cagney9112 karma2013-04-17 22:30:53 UTC
Hey Shane! Wanted to stop in and say Hi!! Have you been asked this already: besides poetry, what other kinds of writing would you like to or have experimented with. Theater? Long fiction or non-fiction? What else would you like to explore as an artist?
Koyczan2 karma2013-04-17 22:59:23 UTC
I like to write screenplays... I have delusions that one day I'll be a film maker. :)
TheWhaleMan2 karma2013-04-17 22:32:31 UTC
Any more videos you plan on making soon? I mean To This Day, you found so many outstanding artist to push an already amazing poem viral, so I am just wondering if this experience made you thirsty for more video relate stuff. ( Has nothing to do with my question but Atlantis inspired me to make a comic, I hope you don't mind, I gave you full credit. ).
Koyczan3 karma2013-04-17 23:08:49 UTC
I'd love to see the comic. I'd like to do more videos... just need to figure out funding and such... they can be a lot of work.
dnananaBATMAN2 karma2013-04-17 22:32:20 UTC
Do you have any advice for young wannabe poets?
How do you define great poetry? How do you get inspired? Is there any method in your creative process you can share?
Koyczan13 karma2013-04-17 23:07:26 UTC
There are no wanna be poets... just poets.
zachinacubicle2 karma2013-04-17 22:33:03 UTC
Your Poetry 'voice' has a powerful rhythmic inflection. Where is the strangest place that you have used that completely unrelated to your Poetic Work? Like the bank or Gas station for instance.
Koyczan9 karma2013-04-17 23:11:55 UTC
One time I freestyled and convinced a lady to give the last box of kraft spirals... it was then that I knew what real power was.
thepretender92 karma2013-04-17 22:34:31 UTC
Hey Shane, when i first saw your video, 'To this Day' it really spoke to me. I was bullied constantly between the ages of 11-16. I think what you are doing is a groundbreaking way to help end bullying and i admire you greatly.
The power in your voice is simply amazing
My question is, what would you say to a young child, who has just started getting bullied? Also, what would you say to a child who is a bully?
Thanks for all your work man
Koyczan3 karma2013-04-17 23:17:21 UTC
I don't think you "say"... I think you ask and then you listen.
xAtlantis2 karma2013-04-17 22:35:41 UTC
When I saw you live last, you performed a poem about a school crush named "Penny", I was wondering if you were ever going record that one? I'd love to hear it again!
Koyczan4 karma2013-04-17 23:18:18 UTC
Yup... should have a new solo album out soon.
jruff19932 karma2013-04-17 22:29:12 UTC
Do you have a favourite slam poet (other than yourself, of course), if so who?
Koyczan3 karma2013-04-17 22:51:42 UTC
skonen_blades2 karma2013-04-17 22:39:52 UTC
I would like to live in your beard. I am also very tall and have a beard of my own. I enjoy going to many beard-related events. However, it rains a lot in the city where I live. Do you have any ideas for beard protectors? I have made something out of plastic bags for the time being but I feel it lacks elegance. I eschew umbrellas. What is your solution to not getting a damp beard?
Koyczan5 karma2013-04-17 23:28:06 UTC
Hmmm. This is a great question. I'm of the camp that believes a brave man does not fear the feeling of nature upon his beard... but then a wise man has enough sense to get out of the rain. I believe we will have to wait for technology to advance to arrive at something truly satisfactory.
96012 karma2013-04-17 22:40:02 UTC
Saw you at the Belfry theatre in Victoria, incredibly moving!
Where's your favourite place to perform?
Koyczan3 karma2013-04-17 23:28:48 UTC
I loved the theatre in LA for TED
oldboy782 karma2013-04-17 22:41:22 UTC
What is your opinion about Bill Hicks?Costa , filmmaker from Greece
Koyczan2 karma2013-04-17 23:29:44 UTC
I love Bill Hicks... you can still feel his impact on the comedy world.
TheToothlessDentist2 karma2013-04-17 22:43:52 UTC
Hey Shane, I saw you perform in Ottawa at my first poetry show and you were incredible! I don't have a question but I just wanted to let you know that you're the reason I'm starting to get involved in the scene, thanks for being such an inspiration.
Koyczan2 karma2013-04-17 23:37:12 UTC
eterpage2 karma2013-04-17 22:36:16 UTC
You've already answered a question of mine, so you can move on if you'd like.
But anyways, do you ever feel like you're getting less personable as you get more popular? Like, is it harder to connect with your fans?
You've been my hero since 2007, I am wondering this because though I am very happy people realize how freaking amazing you are, I find myself worrying you'll end up like one of those famous people who eventually starts to ignore the fans(by sheer magnitude of them).
Koyczan3 karma2013-04-17 23:21:05 UTC
I can't see myself ignoring my fans... they're the reason I'm able to support myself doing what I love. I am happily indebted.
ColbyVickers2 karma2013-04-17 22:31:38 UTC
First off, your words have changed my best friend Andre and myself. I even showed my mom "To This Day" and she started crying! Your words are so powerful and every poem you've done is just insane! You're so talented with your wordplay and it's incredible!
1. How do you write your poems? I know it seems like a simple question, but I'm starting to get into poetry and I want some help. I write lyrics, but this is much more intense, personal, and deep.
2. I heard you say that you were once a bully. Care to elaborate?
& 3. Do you have anything new in the works for us right now?
Love you man, and keep up the good work!
Koyczan3 karma2013-04-17 23:02:02 UTC
There's always something in the works. I don't really have a formula for writing but I tend to write backwards... I start with the ending and work to the beginning. It would be a long elaboration to explain here but I caver it in my book Stickboy.
jellyfish851 karma2013-04-17 22:21:12 UTC
I enjoyed your poem "The Student"- What was your take away from that experience?
Koyczan3 karma2013-04-17 22:46:51 UTC
The last line sums it up. it says "I am hear to learn"... many people have tried to correct me saying that it should read "here"... for me the piece is about learning to listen.
Axwellington881 karma2013-04-17 22:19:04 UTC
I have always considered writing to be a medicine for me. When I need answers I turn to my notebook for help. I have hundreds of things I have written over the years and aside from work and other pieces I have submitted, no one has seen any of it. I am ok with that! To me, I get exactly what I want from it even if no one else sees it.
My question for you Shane, What do you think I can gain from sharing my work if I decide to? I would like to know what you gain from sharing your amazing work compared to if you kept it to yourself.. also, do you keep a lot of what you write to just yourself? I would just like to know your thoughts on sharing and not sharing your work because it is something I have had trouble with in the past. My question may seem dumb because I am running on little sleep.. so regardless if you answer it, thank you so much for your time during this AMA :)
Koyczan5 karma2013-04-17 22:44:48 UTC
I've gained a lot from sharing my work. It has connected me to people all over the world and has enriched my life in immeasurable ways. I realize that path isn't for everyone but it's been rewarding for me. There are volumes of material that I keep to myself... I recently just lost a hard drive full of stuff... gone into the ether :(
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