Hellooo. So, for the past ~3 years (I started March 2017) I've been living entirely off of writing poems.

I sit out with a table and a sign, usually in Washington Square Park in NYC, and I write poems for every person that asks for one. Usually people give me money! Sometimes they don't!

I live off a combination of: 1) donations from strangers, 2) online book sales, & 3) my Patreon.

You can check out my instagram to see photos and poems. You can also google me (Peter Chinman) for some interviews.

Last year I began to notice how many pick-up artists were in the park. There so many of them who were there almost every day, spending hours targeting women. I started calling them out, and then staging "interventions" when they would make approaches. I've had a few testy run-ins with some of the "dating coaches" who lead pick-up artist classes. I've been threatened (and attempted to be seduced). But the interventions work! The pick-up artists started avoiding the section of the park I was in and would complain about me in their private telegram chat.

Proof: https://imgur.com/UgdLnjE

EDIT: welcome to all the PUAs / MRAs / red-pilled reddit warriors!

EDIT 2: lol what a fucking mess. I'll keep answering good-faith questions tho

Comments: 6072 • Responses: 122  • Date: 

PoetTantrum2663 karma

When you threw a tantrum on Instagram and asked people to unfollow you if they didn't financially support you, how did this contribute to your goals?

LobsterSupply347 karma

Do you have screenshots I want it see

theparkpoet-201 karma

hahaha tbh it was mostly a joke, I didn't think people would get so worked up. Honestly, I loved responding to everyone whose underwear got all twisted up. And it was good for me financially! Several people signed up for my Patreon.

Instagram is such a dumb game and I get frustrated sometimes having to use it, which leads to troll-y moments like that. I'd rather just have a few hundred people who actually cared about my art and wanted to support me.

balletaurelie177 karma

I'm so glad you responded to this! It's okay to make mistakes, just own them. And obviously, it's okay to want to make money as an artist.

theparkpoet-162 karma

I don't think it was a mistake! It was certainly troll-y, but also honest. Hopefully it made some people think about their relationship to the artists they follow online.

Jigsaw-Complex1687 karma

I’ve noticed this question go unanswered. How are you able to pay for rent, in NYC of all places, with an income based almost solely on donations?

EDIT: Also, your posts are a bit confusing. You’ve posted a lot of AMAs in the past year with claims of doing this for 1, 2, and now 3 years. Is there a reason for that?

theparkpoet802 karma

I live in a big house with lots of friends in Brooklyn. Rent is actually pretty reasonable. And when the weather's nice, the money's pretty good.

And dude… those posts are from ~one & ~two years ago. I started in April 2017, so the "three" years is a few months early.

smugandfurious-884 karma

why the hell are you posting AmAs that often? Is this just a publicity for you?

EDIT: Wow, the number of downvotes really surprise me, although I'm surprised that id didn't really influence my karma much

(also just to reiterate once a year is a lie, in reality it's more than 3 per year)

EDIT2: thanks for the gold! (although I think it's kinda misplaced)

theparkpoet971 karma

once a year doesn't seem that excessive. and yes, this publicity.

Wolvenfire86665 karma

Why do you say the interventions worked? It sounds like the pick-up artists are just avoiding you and reporting you for bothering them, as opposed to becoming better people through identifying their flaws.

theparkpoet-77 karma

I think having a zone in the park that the pick-up artists avoid is a Good thing

Throw_Away_Palpatine543 karma

  • Do you create the poem on the spot or you have a predetermined structure?
  • Do you feel that the quality of your street work is subpar compared to your book material?
  • How does your creative process work?

I ask these because one of my favorite poets, Luís de Camões, also "wrote on demand" due to financial problems. One can clearly spot the difference of quality between his personal work (e.g. O Desconcerto do Mundo) to his demand work.

theparkpoet587 karma

Create it on the spot. The best of the streetwork becomes the bookwork. I take pictures of the poems that seem interesting to me and then spend the winter going thru them and editing and writing and rewriting. Creative process is mostly just trusting my intuitive sense of what syllables should come next.

Love the historical fact. I haven't heard of him. Could you recommend me your favorite poems of his?

Throw_Away_Palpatine221 karma

Interesting! I've been checking out your verses on Instagram, you seem talented. How many do you write on an average day?

I haven't heard of him. Could you recommend me your favorite poems of his?

While the Wikiquote has several poems of his translated to English, my favorite is missing. He's the Portuguese Shakespeare, but better.

If don't mind me asking, why the hell every single question in this AMA is dissing you? Have you participated on Christ's execution or something?

theparkpoet299 karma

Do you know Fernando Pessoa? He's the only Portuguese poet I know, but I love him.

The men's rights brigade found me and hate that I call out pick-up artists in the park.

TheLiberalOgre507 karma

I'm curious to know how you differentiate a predator (pick up artist) from just some guy trying to make time with someone?

theparkpoet2222 karma

there's a difference between striking up a conversation with a stranger and spending your afternoon sharking over to woman after woman to corner them in conversation. plus the "costume" is a give-away. pick-up artists dress like they might be going to the club later, but the club is also in 2004.

thelazyguru258 karma

Hmmm im going to guess blue jeans, square dress shoes and ill fitting dress shirts or polos?

theparkpoet789 karma

mmm no flashier than that. tight jeans with that kind of european-club look. a gold chain. $200 t-shirt, maybe a leather jacket. kind of a try-hard look. sometimes they go more plain.

firmretention462 karma

On a scale of 1 to 10 how disappointed in you are your parents?

theparkpoet142 karma

0! They're both v pleased that I'm doing something that a) supports me & b) makes me happy. I was definitely nervous to tell them though.

Cor-mega-12 karma

[deleted]

theparkpoet78 karma

supports me fully! if something bad happened I'd be fucked, but I think most Americans are also living "pay-check to pay-check" and I get to do something I love

eternalquiet362 karma

I have a few questions I hope you don't mind answering:

1.) Did you formally study poetry anywhere, like in college or anything? If so, what program did you attend?

2.) Have you ever submitted to / been accepted by any contest or literary journals?

3.) Who are some of your favorite poets? Do you find that any other poets have influenced your style?

theparkpoet368 karma

1) Studied literature, philosophy, and math in college. Went to Pomona College

2) I've started submitting in the past few months. Haven't been accepted anywhere. Tbh, I'm conflicted about it. Seems like poetry journals are mostly just read by other published poets.

3) I love Anne Carson, Jack Gilbert, Gerard Manley Hopkins, … … so many more. I'm sure they all influenced me, but it's all so subconscious it's hard to tease apart.

fsanchez1027348 karma

So how exactly do you live off of this?

theparkpoet478 karma

People who ask for poems usually give me money! I also sell books and have a patreon. I regularly scrape the bottom of my bank account, but I get by, and I don't have to do anything but write the best poems I can, so I'm happy.

LandofthePlea27 karma

Trustafarian without dreads.

theparkpoet234 karma

nope! completely supporting myself

EvilTemptriss337 karma

where do you live and do you pay rent?

theparkpoet298 karma

I live in Brooklyn in a brownstone with a bunch of friends, where yes, I pay rent for my room.

BigSwim8334 karma

In what way did your "inventions" work? It sounds like the PUAs just moved somewhere else to avoid you.

Edit: I meant "interventions".

theparkpoet198 karma

The best method I found was walking up right after they'd made an approach and saying, "Hello, I'm making a documentary about pick-up artists. Would you mind if I interviewed you?"

Sometimes I'd just make loud public announcements, pointing out who the pick-up artists are.

And definitely—they just moved to other sections of the park. But I think having an Anti-PUA Zone is a good thing. I'm also trying to find people who want to join in the interventions. With ~6 people I think you could shut down PUAs across the whole park.

Mapplestreet513 karma

Imagine being a shy dude that finally worked up the courage to approach a girl he sees at the park every day and then this guy comes around lol

theparkpoet341 karma

I'm a careful observer of the park. And I've gotten v good at picking out pick up artists. The guys I'm going up to are the ones who spend hours in the park targeting women.

NotThatCrafty286 karma

Here in Canada "writing poetry" is also a euphemism for masturbating. Did you really quit your job just so you could spend more time "writing poetry" in the park in front of strangers?

theparkpoet34 karma

tbh it's an appropriate euphemism… hard to get away from creating-art-as-the-world-burns not feeling masturbatory

texasconsult247 karma

What do your parents do? I’ve found that people who choose lives that allow them to “scrape the bottom of the barrel” usually do it because their parents are there and they have a whole other barrel to scrape from if they fail.

theparkpoet1 karma

Parents were both lawyers for the state (i.e. not making the big books, more like teacher salary). At one point my dad quit to look after my little brother & sister because childcare was costing as much as his salary. Which is just to say, they certainly weren't as rich as some of y'all seem to want to believe.

Zena-Xina201 karma

I just read every single comment and reply on this post.

Big Yikes.

If you read this comment, turn back now!!

For OP, what are your plans for the future? Surely you don't see yourself writing poems in a park for the rest of your life?

theparkpoet51 karma

My plans for the future are mostly just to keep writing the best poems that I can. Would love to not be so poor, but mostly I'm really grateful to be able to dedicate my days to writing poems.

Danny_Deneato151 karma

Mate stop fetishing poverty and working class culture. It’s disrespectful for those of us who grew up in it and it shows that you have no understanding of what it’s like to actually have no money. You are making these choices, which is your right, but don’t act as if it’s not a choice for you

theparkpoet107 karma

this is good criticism. I choose this life. Not trying to fetishize poverty, just trying to state a fact about my bank account. I'm very grateful to be able to support myself writing poems, I'd love if the financial situation was a little smoother.

_last_call_33 karma

You’re not poor. There’s a difference between being poor and being broke. Having a lifeline (which I assume you take advantage of liberally) is not the same as actual poverty. You can be broke, but for you it’s a CHOICE. Consent makes all the difference.

Maybe start there with gratitude. Look in the mirror, look at yourself honestly & not the character you’re LARPing as, & be thankful for the reality of your situation.

theparkpoet91 karma

This is true—big difference between being broke and having a support system and being truly in poverty. I don't take advantage of my friends and family, but if something did happen, I know there's a lot of people who would be looking out for me.

And, I'm very grateful! To be able to support myself doing what I love is a huge gift, and everyday I'm thankful for it.

I'm not LARPing tho, at least not anymore than any other human. Is a banker LARPing?

coryrenton199 karma

Which pens/paper do you find are the most durable and reliable?

theparkpoet276 karma

Pilot G2s are great cheap pens. Love Muji pens too. I mostly use half-sheets of shitty computer paper, but also sometimes buy nice thick cardstock from a paper store (been thinking about getting a paper cutter so that I can just buy bulk cardstock and cut it up myself; it's expensive from the stores)

91282716160 karma

what are the fountain pens you're using on your ig?

theparkpoet126 karma

fountain pen company sent me a free pen! I hate having to change the ink at the park tho so I mostly use cheapo pens

hoerensagen161 karma

Why do you write for strangers in parks?

theparkpoet211 karma

It's the way I've found of making a living writing poems.

Hiei2k7149 karma

Being in rando parks in NYC, how many times do you see tv crews run by you?

theparkpoet420 karma

all the fucking time. one time they shut down a whole big section of the park and filled it with extras pretending to be actual people. they had "homeless" extras, "tourist" extras, "performer" extras. someone decided that I fit in, and I was allowed to wander around writing poems for the extras.

sh1nycat44 karma

Wow. Did you ever find out what their "story" was about?

theparkpoet11 karma

"Isn't it Romantic" some movie

guyperson43125 karma

What is the most moving moment you’ve had during your career?

theparkpoet282 karma

So many beautiful weird moments. I have a newsletter I send out with stories from the park, I'm gonna paste an excerpt of one of my favorite moments—

His voice was raw like gravel in a scraped knee. You write poems?

Yes.

He nodded, scowling. Slouchy black rags hung from his body.

He walked off to a bench and left the assortment of tattered baggery he had with him. He came back over to me and growled, I would like a poem.

About anything in particular?

First thing I think of is Christ I guess.

I started writing his poem. Take your time, he said, eyeing the crowds & occasionally muttering low incomprehensible things to himself.

Two tourists came up and announced that they wanted a poem.

I looked up at them and nodded. I have to finish this one first.

Don’t worry about mine, the man in black rags gravelled. You got customers.

I shook my head. You were first. I turned back to the poem & finished it & handed it to him. He took it delicately & thanked me & walked back to the bench.

I wrote a poem for the tourists and by then a few more people had come up for poems. As I wrote I saw out of the corner of my eye the man in black rags wandering over to the fountain with what looked like a jagged piece of glass, and wandering back, the sunlight glinting from what he held in his hands.

After I’d worked my way thru the line, the man came back up—the jagged glint of glass flashing in his hands. I looked at it and saw it wasn’t broken but just a plain old glass bowl filled with water thru which the sun was lensed and refracted into swirling lines of light. I stared at this vessel as he approached, and at one moment suddenly a swish of black ribbon appeared at the edge of the glass and a fish swam into view, which had until this instant been hidden somehow in the curve of light.

He placed it on my table. I looked down at the flashing black purple ribbon of fish. From above it looked so much smaller.

This is Charley, he said. You just got to feed him some bread crumbs once a week. I gave him some new water.

You want me to have him?

Yea. Just promise you’ll take care of him.

I promised.

All day while I wrote poems, I watched Charley flashing in the light as he fluttered around in the the bowl.

hoerensagen73 karma

Did Charley stay with you? Do you take him around everywhere? Also, how long does it take you to write a poem? How much variation is there?

theparkpoet146 karma

Brought him home and got him a real tank.

The poems come pretty quick, each takes ~5 minutes. I try to surprise myself as much as I can, and write unexpected original poems.

ItzWarty62 karma

Pet tax. Any pics of Charley? That's a fun story behind him :P

Recurringg120 karma

Not all dating coaches are teaching guys to be pickup artists. Many of them are dealing with guys that have crushing shyness or insecurities. In fact that's the reason these guys sought out a dating coach to begin with. What makes you so sure you're doing the right thing by interfering with their efforts to find a partner?

theparkpoet119 karma

I'm not talking about all dating coaches. I'm talking about the pick-up artist workshops that come thru with dozens of men all practicing cold-approach.

Rauchgestein-91 karma

Do you think we are not strong enough to defend ourselfs?

Yeah thanks for the downvotes. Like society has accepted transgenders. Go fuck yourselfs, assholes.

theparkpoet135 karma

I'm assuming "ourselves" is women approached by pick-up artists? I'm not worried about the women handling themselves. I think the pick-up artists are deep in a dark spiral of masculinity and I want to encourage them to behave properly in public.

b0bo-141 karma

Is behaving properly in public harassing people for money and a costing them when they don't want your poems?

theparkpoet131 karma

I don't harass people for money or accost them, they voluntarily approach me to get poems

SeismicPandaBuns110 karma

You wrote in a comment that you like to surprise yourself with the poems. Do you have a preferred style of writing? Do you find yourself coming back to certain themes or motifs? Do you find this is sustainable all year round (even in the winter months)? What would you like to be doing for a living if not this? Thanks!

theparkpoet117 karma

I don't try to write in any particular style—but a style definitely emerges. I feel like I'm constantly trying to keep my poems from sounding like what I've already written.

I definitely obsessively circle certain themes & images. Sometimes for a month or so, the same image or phrase will get repeated in a bunch of poems.

Winter is hard. I save up money during the warm months, and that's able to get me thru. I also go out writing in the subway sometimes, but that can be kind of rough, psychically.

If not writing poems, I would love to be making music or sculptures.

H_C_O_93 karma

Never seen you there. In what part of the park do you sit?

theparkpoet51 karma

Usually just south of the fountain, in the central circle.

RamOmri91 karma

What did you tell the pick up artists when you were staging interventions for them?

On the one hand I understand it's absolutely wrong that they were harrassing those women. But a part of me also thinks that they just lacked social skills and were trying to improve them.

theparkpoet211 karma

The best method I found is to walk up right after they make their approach and say, cheerily "Hello, I'm making a documentary about pick-up artists. Would you mind if I interviewed you?"

Completely freezes them.

I get that some of them want to practice their social skills, but women aren't responsible for socializing awkward men.

Piehead31487 karma

can u stop the Intervention at Washington square? It’s so awkward you like berate the guy tryna get a girl and draw more attention to the girl and she feels even worse..so cringe.. my friend and I chill there and always like fuck here comes poem guy all self righteous..

theparkpoet-13 karma

I don't usually berate them. I just cheerily walk up and tell them I'm making a documentary on pick-up artists and ask if I can interview them. But this is good criticism. I definitely try to turn the focus entirely on the pick-up artist and leave the girl out of it.

GreyTrainers84 karma

You eat a lot of cereal?

theparkpoet100 karma

No. I fucken love rice krispies tho. To the point that I can't buy them because I'll just down the whole box.

tsaoutofourpants73 karma

One of my more memorable relationships in my early 20s was with a woman I met in Washington Square Park. Where were you back then to ruin it for us because no one gets to approach people in the park but you?

theparkpoet10 karma

umm congratulations? did you meet her in the course of cold-approaching dozens of women?

OtherSpiderOnTheWall44 karma

Holy-assumptions batman. People meet in parks sometimes. It's a public space.

theparkpoet51 karma

it was a genuine question. I think meeting in public is great! and I think pick-up artists are trash!

jeniuspir62 karma

Beginning is the hardest part of everything? How did you manage your beginning?

                                                                                - Someone who doesn’t have a courage

theparkpoet116 karma

As soon as I had the idea I knew I needed to try it. So, I went out the next day and wandered around NYC, scouting locations. I found a spot that I thought would work, so I went back home and made a wearable cardboard sign and went out the next day to the spot. I was v nervous putting on the sign—I felt so visible. But I put it on, and people mostly just ignored me. I thought maybe it was all a just a dumb dream, but then people started coming up.

As soon as I realized I was making more money than I was at my job, I quit.

willowhawk75 karma

Must have had a shit job lol

theparkpoet79 karma

Yea, I was working a dumb online customer service job. I'd spent a couple years living in a cheap beachtown, making lots of music with my bandmate. Then I moved to NYC and knew I had to figure out something else.

mike-kowalski61 karma

I know there’s a lot of questions here about your finances, but I have one more. Do you have any loans from college that you’re paying off? Degrees, especially from small liberal arts schools, aren’t cheap. Is rent pretty much your only expense? Edit: I’m a college student trying to deal with the cost myself. Honestly curious, not trying to hate

theparkpoet102 karma

Financial Aid paid for most of the cost, and my parents paid for the rest— which I'm very grateful for, and is definitely a huge privilege. I don't know if I would have been able to make the decision to pursue this with debt hanging over my head. Rent, food, transit, occasional trips, that's pretty much it.

ididntpayforit-11 karma

Financial aid (ie fasfa) is usually something people have to pay back. So are your parents paying it back?

theparkpoet101 karma

the school I went to has a big endowment and pays for the “full financial need” of every student

yup_yanni61 karma

How does the Winter season effect your work?

theparkpoet86 karma

Winter season is hard. By mid-November it's too cold to work in the park, and my S.A.D. starts really setting in. I mostly treat it as a season to retreat and edit poems and work on other projects. For instance, I've been doing lots of clay sculpture this year.

joekelly0045 karma

Donations? As in you give them a poem and they give you money? That would be considered self employment income...

I guess my question is, are you properly reporting your income and paying the appropriate taxes?

theparkpoet178 karma

yes unfortunately it's all taxable income

Hector_Castillo44 karma

Dating coach here. I'm super curious, if you're willing to engage - why is it contemptible for men to approach random women? Is it the act itself (you find it morally flawed to seek sex/romance) or their method?

And what is your goal by "intervening"? Do you fix their method or just want men to stop talking to women forever?

theparkpoet202 karma

Based on conversations with women—most of them are annoyed at being approached by random men in public & some of them really hate it. When cold-approach is something you're doing to dozens of women, you're forcing most of them into conversations that they don't want to be in, and often they feel too awkward, polite, or even scared to tell the men off.

I think cold-approach based pick-up is gross. I think there are lots of ways to meet women that don't involve bothering them in public.

windbetweenthestars41 karma

You got so much more traction in this AMA than in your other AMA attempts, but the response has been overwhelmingly negative this time. A lot more people are aware of you and your lifestyle today, but many of them probably find what you’re doing pitiful and cringeworthy. Given these facts, what’s your impression of your situation now? Poet, did you win or lose the Reddit lottery today?

theparkpoet1 karma

Most of the hate seems to be coming from MRA-types… at least from what I can see. There's some people who have offered good-faith criticism but most of it is just "how dare you call out pick-up artists" and made up stories about me in the park.

I think incurring MRA-wrath means I'm winning.

XidiusAstral106 karma

Yo I'm a trans leftist, this idea that everyone giving you shit is an MRA is just straight up false. There are four main reasons why you were brigaded with trolls.

  1. You come across as pretentious
  2. You come across as one of those weird "nice guys"
  3. You show little self awareness and are unable to roll with the punches and self crit
  4. that one dude with that story kinda called you out

My recommendation is to stop getting so defensive, mock yourself and coat your posts in a protective layer of irony. And stop trying to act like everyone making fun of you secretly share the same ideology, it makes you look like a conspiracy theorist.

theparkpoet14 karma

Yea, I mean, I agree, I definitely could have wrapped this up in more self-mockery and irony and it would have incurred less wrath—but also like, what's the point. I feel a certain way about things. I think if we see gross actions taking place in our communities we should act and call them out.

Also, re: 4) that story is just made up. Many people now commenting with just obviously false stories of interactions with me in the park. Which yes sounds v conspiracist, but it's true. I'm very nice in the park!

ohkelly40 karma

Lol you seem kinda like a douche. Like those obnoxious transplants from like Idaho, that used to pester me on my way to and from work/school and thought they were so witty & clever because they had a schtick. Good for you though if you're actually making a living off of it, I guess.

I guess my question is, what was your previous real job?

theparkpoet69 karma

dumb online customer service job

justforkicks734 karma

How does it feel to be the most downvoted AMA person that I have ever witnessed? The majority of your comments aren't even viewable anymore for being so disliked.

Second question: Do you believe any publicity is also good publicity, even if it's bad publicity?

theparkpoet-8 karma

honored to have gotten so many goats

and generally I do think that maxim is true—tho I also don't see pissing off PUA as bad publicity

wikklesche28 karma

Do you typically write poems for recurring people who drop by, or is it mostly strangers you've never met? Any favorite regulars?

theparkpoet42 karma

mostly strangers, but there's also a bunch of regulars. some have been coming by for years. there's one dude, Kaiser, who's homeless and hangs out in the park and asks me for poems about "esoteric" subjects (his word)—love talking to him, love writing poems for him

wyrdtothewise24 karma

What was your most memorable pick-up artist intervention?

theparkpoet-200 karma

Here's a (long-ass) excerpt from my newsletter with a story about one intervention.

~~~

My friend Bianca was taking over the poem desk for a little while so I was watching her bike, gliding around the park, freed from my post.

I saw an open spot on a bench and coasted over to it and sat down. I recognized the two guys sitting to my right; they were pick-up artists—not the charismatic, sociopathic ones, but the kind that are awkward & terrified of talking to women and have identified the techniques of pick-up as the path toward breaking out of this awkwardness.

The one further away from me was talking to a women whom he had clearly interrupted from reading her book—she had it open in her lap and kept glancing back to it.

I turned to the guy next to me and said, conspiratorially, “Can I ask you something? On a scale of one to ten—how good would you say you are at reading body language?”

He said, “Maybe a 7?”

“Oh wow, that’s pretty high. Because, I always see y’all talking to women, and if I was receiving the signs from them that I see y’all receiving, it would be a clear boundary to me, & I would immediately stop talking to them.”

“Oh yeah, you have to ignore that boundary, and just keep going.”

I paused and smiled at him. I love the moments when they give themselves away. “That’s fucked up, dude.”

He recoiled, realizing that I wan’t an accomplice. “What are you talking about?”

“You purposefully ignore people’s boundaries so that you can keep using them to practice your social skills on?” I was speaking a little louder, loud enough that his friend and the woman he was talking to were now also paying attention to us.

“Using?” he said. “I’m not ‘using’ them. It sounds like you’re assuming things about me…”

“I am not assuming anything…” I talked over him, “You just said to me ‘you have to ignore that boundary’. You know exactly what you’re doing.”

He seemed to realize that he had backed himself up into a corner. He began to talk continuously, to try to drown me out in a stream of defensivenes, saying that I was assuming things and he was just minding his own business and and what is my problem and what a sad life I’m living as a poet in the park and how embarassing it is and I must be jealous of him, while I peppered his defensive drivel with questions—why are you getting so defensive, why can’t you have a conversation about this, what are you trying to hide from yourself, what are you terrified of?

By the time he got around to accusing me of being jealous of him, he had worked himself up so much that he had to leave. He said, “I’m done with you,” and walked off. People all around us had started to pay attention. Now there was the lone pick-up artist in a sudden vaccuum, with all of the attention on him. The woman he had been talking to met my eyes and nodded.

He turned to me and said, quietly, “Well I don’t know what he’s doing, but I’m not doing that. I’m just talking to people.”

“Are you kidding me,” I said, raising my voice, playing for the audience of onlookers. “She was sitting here reading her book and you cornered her into a conversation because you wanted to talk to her.”

“If she didn’t want to talk to me she would have said so.”

The woman chimed in, “Actually, I was just being polite.”

“She didn’t want to talk to you. And you knew this! You knew she doesn’t want to talk to you!” I had started yelling. “You purposefully ignored this fact because you wanted to USE her to address your own social anxieties! Stop using people!”

“OK, sir, I am done talking to you.”

“Oh I’m sorry am I ignoring your boundaries? Am I not responding to the signs that you don’t want to talk to me?” I had begun to cackle maniacally. “This is what you do to other people! If I have to become you to destroy you, I will!”

“Listen, I’m not doing anything. I’m done talking to her. I’m just sitting here.”

“But I’m going to see you doing the exact same thing in half an hour, and then again tomorrow. You have to stop doing this. You have to change your life.”

“I’m not doing anything wrong.”

“You are using people! Stop using people! Change your life!”

He got silent, and sat for a few seconds and then got up and walked off. A few minutes later I saw that he and his friend had reconvened and were eying the crowds, looking for new targets.

ForeskinBalloons22 karma

Why do you think women need you to save them and take care of them in the park?

I'm asking because this sounds like an incredibly fucking stupid "career"

theparkpoet11 karma

I don't think they need to be saved, or taken care of. I know they can handle themselves—they deal with this every day. I just think we should call gross behaviors in our communities, and I think what the pick-up artists are doing is gross.

probablynotdrunk21 karma

How much are you saving for your retirement? Or do you just expect other people to support your lifestyle

theparkpoet-3 karma

haven't been able to save up anything for retirement yet… but I don't think that makes me any different than most Americans

beermingham3 karma

Most Americans pay taxes on their income. Do you?

theparkpoet24 karma

yes, all of the donations I receive are taxable income!

christopherpeterson19 karma

Have you seen the movie Before Sunrise? A dude in that movie does this along the Seine.

It's a bit more guerilla though, no table

theparkpoet6 karma

Yess, got the idea while I was re-watching that movie.

skramboney18 karma

Are you essentially the same as pick up artist except instead of hitting on girls to give you numbers you hit on strangers to listen to your poems and donate money?

theparkpoet128 karma

strangers come up to me and ask for poems

m_dot_holmes_dot3 karma

This is an amazing thread you've created. It's clearly brought out a lot of issues people have. I had no idea people felt challenged by poets. It's like you doing your thing is an affront to their identity.

Do you get this kind of negative daily? Like - get a job mate! - kind of comments?

theparkpoet5 karma

noo, in the park it's almost all extremely positive experiences

lawnessd-73 karma

Before they come up to you, how do they know you're working poems?

theparkpoet189 karma

I have a sign that says ASK ME FOR A POEM

PicoGramOfGreatness16 karma

I'm a bit late to this but thought I'd shoot my shot.

Has it ever occurred to you that it is okay for men or women to approach a member of the opposite sex they have an attraction to, to possibly strike up a conversation?

Has it ever occurred to you that women are perfectly capable of rejecting a mans advances and don't need a small fragile man campaigning in their honor throwing poetry all over the gaf?

You are a grown man, why are you throwing tantrums in public when people don't want your poetry?

Edit: This entire post is clearly being brigaded by your instagram followers, multiple users that have posted about your tantrums, complete lack of self awareness, poor attitude and public harassment have been and continue to be down voted.

You are a disingenuous man and I'm surprised that people actually eat your bullshit up.

theparkpoet52 karma

I think it's great when people talk to strangers! I think it's gross when men spend day after day cold-approaching women. I'm not trying to protect the women. I'm trying to call-out the pick-up artists. And I don't "throw tantrums in public when people don't want my poetry". The story's made up. I'm actually very pleasant in the park (except to the pick-up artists).

iPlink215 karma

How broke are you? Cardboard box broke or parents basement broke?

theparkpoet19 karma

Living in a brownstone in Brooklyn with a bunch of friends broke. Not saving any money but living comfortably broke.

Jalexan13 karma

I worked pretty close to Washington Square Park for a few years and one of my favorite warm weather things was getting Go Go Curry! and sitting in the park and eating it. What’s your favorite quick lunch near the park? (Bonus points if the answer is in poem form)

theparkpoet23 karma

Mamoun's Falafel!

dont_stop-me_now12 karma

How does it feel to not have an actual job?

theparkpoet37 karma

really fucking great most of the time—and then sometimes feels really fucking precarious

pointlessly_pedantic12 karma

Idk if you're still answering, but was there a moment when you decided to do this full time and was it scary to make that decision?

theparkpoet28 karma

After the very first day I knew I wanted to do it full time. Spent another week making sure it wasn't a fluke and then just went for it.

TBH, I was more scared of spending 40 hrs a week wasting my life making money for other people.

snacktrapper11 karma

Out of curiosity, are you able to save money for retirement and stuff? What are your long term plans? Also how do taxes work for donations from strangers?

theparkpoet6 karma

haven't been able to save any money yet (but I think that just puts me in the same boat as most Americans). long-term I just want to keep writing the best poems I can.

unfortunately, the donations are all taxable income

ttyyuu1234510 karma

These questions can seem as a bit hostile as it may put your perspective into question:

1.) Why do you waste time intervening with pickup artists?

2.) Why do you expect people who follow your Instagram to financially support you? I understand that you want to make a living pursuing your passions, but making people feel guilty because they won’t donate to your cause is kind of scummy in my opinion.

3.) What is your level of pickup artists going too far? Maybe they’re pursuing their passions of learning to socialize and living that dream of being an attractive man. I do understand that there are boundaries and some people need to be given the opportunity to find those. Do you not want some people to not pursue their passions because they don’t align with your moral views?

theparkpoet0 karma

Hey, thank you for such thoughtful questions.

1.) The park feels like my community. I'm there all the time. I'm friends with a lot of the people who are also there all the time. It's a special place to me. And so I didn't feel like I could just ignore the pick-up artists. I think if you see bad behavior in your community you should call it out. I don't go wandering around the city looking for pick-up artists. I just call them out when I see them in my community.

2.) To me it's a sort of simple equation. "If you really care about me/my art, and you can afford to give me money, then you would happily support me. If you can afford to give me money, but don't actually want to, then do you really care about me/my art?"

To me this is an important question. Do you actually care about that artist you follow? Or do you just like scrolling the content they provide you for free.

I get that not everyone can afford to support the artists they care about, and I'm more than happy to have those people continue to follow along. But there's a lot of people who fall into the camp of "yes I could afford to give you money, but I just don't want to, because I don't really care about you/your art."

Not trying to make anyone feel guilty, just trying to get people to honestly face the situation.

3.) Listen, you want to talk to strangers? Great, you can learn a lot that way. Let's not pretend that that's what pick-up artists are doing. For them, the women they target are mostly just interchangeable commodities whose value lies in making the man feel good about himself. And it's not just about my "moral views". For me it's about listening to what women are actually saying about pick-up artists, some of them saying it very eloquently in this thread (tho it's hard to find with all the trash).

And really, thanks for these questions, they were great.

countjulian10 karma

$280/month on Patreon in New York? Wow your life is awesome, can you intervene in mine so that I, too, can be a useless bum who hangs out in the park all day?

theparkpoet1 karma

umm sure… what are you doing with your life right now?

limmy070610 karma

Wait, aren’t /you/ a pick-up artist too? ELI5 what makes you different from them (I’m not accusatory, I’m just curious)

theparkpoet5 karma

I don't approach people to offer poems, they come up to me and ask for them, so the interactions are mutually consensual

izmericano8 karma

Any good poetry accounts on IG you'd reccomend checking out?

Also what do your clients normally ask for in one of your poems?

theparkpoet-13 karma

most poetry accounts on IG are baaad

I highly recommend any book by Anne Carson or Jack Gilbert

and people ask for so many things. poems about "thicc dads". poems about dead loved ones. the whole gamut.

jakthedonkey8 karma

When you gallantly swoop in to rescue the helpless damsel in distress from the predatory pick up artist, does she ever not instantly fall in love with you?

theparkpoet0 karma

love when y'all tell on yourselves so much… the only reason you can imagine someone calling out bad behavior in their community is to try to get validation from women

Sacramentardo7 karma

Do you think the first person in your family to be called Chinman also had an impressive chin like you and that's why your family has that name now?

theparkpoet7 karma

I'm pretty sure it was a garbled transliteration of a eastern european name?? My family doesn't really know, and all the Chinmen in the world are pretty close relatives.

wannesdebacker6 karma

Have you ever considered that people find you annoying and don't need a crazy privileged bored hipster to bother them?

theparkpoet2 karma

I don't bother people unless they're bothering people. people come up and ask me for poems because they want one.

crumbs2k126 karma

How did you get your poetry published?

theparkpoet-4 karma

self-published, sent the pdfs off to https://www.48hrbooks.com/

QueenofAids6 karma

What's your retirement plan?

theparkpoet-5 karma

keep writing for the rest of my life

mergedloki6 karma

So you A. ask for money in a park (begging or panhandling). Yes it's in exchange for a poem but.... I've had beggars say they'll clean my car windshield if I pay them. It's still begging/panhandling.

B. Sell online books (legitimate work)

C. Or ask for money on patreon (which, correct me if I'm wrong, is just online begging for money.)

Why would you not keep your day job and pursue writing poems as a hobby so as not to take your fellow man's hard earned cash?

theparkpoet2 karma

wait, wait… why is selling books online the only legitimate work...

is someone who has a fruit stand on the street a beggar?

people voluntarily give me their money. people wait in lines in order to give me money.

Based_nobody6 karma

So, I'm more interested in the poetry aspect of this than the morals. Do you charge? As a poet I've thought of doing the same thing.

theparkpoet5 karma

If you're thinking about it, you should definitely give it a try. I tell people I'd prefer if they'd pay me. Most people do.

imamadbro5 karma

How do you expect to retire? Or find a place to stay when you can no longer support yourself?

theparkpoet-2 karma

I think I'll be able to support myself for a long time. When I can't, who knows? Maybe I call it quits.

wannesdebacker5 karma

Have you considered that not all people think you are as great as you find yourself? Imagine finally having the guts to talk to a girl, and this entitled hipster douchebag shows up, citing his shitty poems, "rescuing the girl from the evil beings that are men".

If there are any pick-up artists here, can you please stage an intervention for this pathetic loser.

theparkpoet0 karma

lol all I do when I go up is call-out the pick-up as pick-up artists. that's enough to completely derail their game. seems like if telling the truth of the situation is enough to make the woman no longer interested, you're doing something wrong.

Iperovic5 karma

Why do you feel the need to play white knight as long as people aren't doing anything illegal, like harassment?

You sound like the type of guy who thinks that Gillette comercial was great.

theparkpoet-1 karma

I think we should call out bad behavior that we witness in our communities. My "white knighting" just consists of pointing out that pick-up artists are pick-up artists. Seems like if the truth destroys what you're doing, you might be doing something wrong…

brownsugar885 karma

I’m confused what you mean by ‘calling out’ pick up artists? There’s a strange presumption of bad faith on their part and victimhood on the subject of their attention.

theparkpoet2 karma

The "calling out" usually just consists of revealing the fact that they are pick-up artists, which is enough to completely derail what they're doing. Seems like a bad sign if the revealing the truth hurts what you are doing…

13enigma5 karma

They threatened you by attempting to seduce you? Lmfao Please tell me I read that correctly. Damn near pissed my pants from laughing

theparkpoet3 karma

It's truuue. One of the PUA, this guy named Frank who's at the park almost every single (fucked up story: I've seen him go try to pick-up 15-year olds) comes over to talk to me, and starts using all the classic PUA conversational strategies. Just like, teasing & asking a specific sort of question. Then he puts his hand on my shoulder. It's like, dude... I know what you're doing. I guess all he knows is pick-up?

gat_gat4 karma

[deleted]

theparkpoet78 karma

most of my comments get downvoted into oblivion

ZugginAround4 karma

Weren't you on House Hunters looking for a new house with a budget of $2mil?

theparkpoet2 karma

umm I wish?? I can barely afford rent on my apartment.

smellsgood133 karma

I write poems as well, it's a hobby of mine. I prefer my poems to actually rhyme though. Ya know? Rhyme schemes, syllable counting, word twists. Not that your poems aren't good, because they are, they just barely rhyme.

theparkpoet1 karma

Yea, I'm not a stickler for rhyme or meter. I just reach for what feels most right. I do think a lot of my poems end up rhyming tho! At least sort of subtly.

throwin1taway3 karma

It is great to see men standing up for women! Highly commendable. These "pick up artists" are disgusting and try to hide their thinly veiled misogyny behind "romance", targeting insecure and vulnerable women that aren't able to defend themselves.

I once got cornered by a guy... he just was hanging around and I walked past him and he leapt in front of me and said "Hey, you're in my psychology class, right?!"... I said "no, I don't take psychology" and tried to walk away (I have never taken a psychology class nor do I have a face that could easily look like someone else) and he kept trying to continue the conversation... luckily I'd seen a video around the time about these PUA and knew what he was doing. Creepy AF. If I were a bit insecure and needed attention from random men to validate myself... and hadn't seen the video... this might have worked. It is NOT a way to start a healthy relationship. You do not start a relationship based on lies and just being the one random girl out of hundreds of failed attempts to fall for some lines out of a book.

What made you decide to start stopping them? Have they ever got violent?

theparkpoet5 karma

The park feels like my community. I think if you see bad behavior in your community you should call it out. Once I realized how rampant the pick-up artists were I felt like I had to start calling them out. No one's gotten violent, but some of them have threatened me, either directly or more just "there's more of us then there are of you, better watch out".

valicat3 karma

Instead of going up to people and reciting them poetry, what if you wrote the poems on sheets of paper and passed it to them? With like a link to your patreon at the bottom?

I'm super socially anxious (Autistic) and I would passionately hate every single second of any interaction with you, sorry to say. Nothing personal, this is how I feel when any stranger approaches me

Once I was on a subway and someone threw a sheet of paper in my lap while they were getting off the train. I dreading flipping it over, expecting it to say something like "die fat cunt bitch" or something but it was just a nice sketch of me holding my phone. Made my whole week.

theparkpoet4 karma

I don't go up to people and recite poetry. People come up to me and request poems. Completely voluntary!

creepy-cats3 karma

I just came to say I have a poem from you that I received 3 years ago when I attended New York Pride! I keep it in my wallet to this day. My question is, has any specific poem or person requesting a poem stuck out to you? Are there any that are more special than others and stick out in your mind, or do you just consider creating each one “the daily grind”, so to speak?

theparkpoet2 karma

(: (: glad to hear you're holding on to it.

There's been so manny poems and people. The ones that stick out are when people are willing to let down their guard and be really open with me.

throbaley3 karma

Holy fuck, are "pick up artists" real? I've always thought it was a joke or something neckbeards claim you do to improve your chances with women. Are there honestly people spending hours and hours, days after days hitting on women in the same fucking place? Shit is downright creepy and cringy.

Anyways, my question for you is what was your old job and is your new life better than the old one?

theparkpoet3 karma

old job was making music while working a dumb online customer service job. love my new life. never been happier.

LeRedditNormie3 karma

Any tip for aspiring poets? And what’s your main motivation when writing poems?

theparkpoet4 karma

just write to give yourself goosebumps. don't worry about anyone else.

fishgottaswim3 karma

I’ve met you! Your poem was really special to me. Thank you! How do you personalize your work for people you’ve just met?

theparkpoet2 karma

hi! glad you liked the poem. I just follow whatever I'm feeling, whatever images come to mind. Sometimes the person tells me something that hits and makes its way into the poem.

Ilovealtcoins1233 karma

Hey! Did you think this AMA would be as bad as it is? Like honestly this couldn't have gone well, right?

theparkpoet2 karma

it made me some money! pissed off a bunch of PUAs! seems like success?

EugeneMooseknuckle3 karma

I have a lot of questions, number one: How dare you?

theparkpoet2 karma

this is great, because it's basically what 90% of people are asking

MidRangeAintDead2 karma

Have you ever considered doing spoken word poetry? I love Button Poetry on YouTube and I bet youd get alot of exposure doing this, especially if the ultimate goal is to sale your books.

theparkpoet2 karma

tbh I mostly enjoy writing the poems, not performing them out loud. but I think I should probably get into it, you're right, it's good exposure.

Kotch112 karma

Ha I see you around wsp, pretty much everytime I'm there! Is the boyscout look working for you? :D

theparkpoet2 karma

seems to be working… wish I knew how to actually dress myself

GluntMubblebub2 karma

How do you differentiate between a well intentioned man approaching a random woman, a PUA being slimy, a man going to reintroduce himself to an old friend or acquaintance and any number of things? Follow up question, what gives you the right to inject yourself into other peoples interactions?

theparkpoet25 karma

once you see a guy shark over to woman after woman, it's pretty clear they're a PUA

Thebaronofthesea2 karma

Let's talk about that hat. Do you think it compliments your features?

theparkpoet2 karma

no, the hat is strictly for sun protection… I'm sitting out for hours in the middle of the day. never wear a hat in my normal life.

savourthesea2 karma

How many hours do you typically work in a week? How often do you take time off? Do you write poems when it's raining? What interesting people have you met as a result of this job? Would you recommend this type of gig to other artists?

theparkpoet3 karma

when the weather's nice I'm working usually 5-10 hours a day, almost every day. when it's raining I stay home, which is a nice built-in break. I've met so many people—I didn't expect to enjoy the social aspect so much, but getting to have weird & genuine encounters with so many people is great, especially in a city where people usually mostly ignore each other in public. for me, this kind of gig is great. it seems harder if you're a musician? you have to constantly be performing, and repeating the same songs. I get to make up new poems constantly.

[deleted]2 karma

[removed]

theparkpoet14 karma

hardest part is going weeks feeling like I haven't written anything good.

Many_Blessings2 karma

How will you save for the future with this? Perhaps you can consider working a full time job (like technical writing, editing, journalism, social work, PR etc, which will be suitable based on your arts background) and writing poetry on the weekends and in your free time? You seem to have gone to a great school and have potential. You can also consider joining a masters program. Not judging you in any way, just thinking about your future.

theparkpoet2 karma

this is maybe ridiculous, but I'm not too worried about the future? like, I think either a) poetry will work out and I'll be able to build this into something bigger or b) it doesn't matter at all because the entire world is going to be in such chaos and everyone's retirement savings will be meaningless

jaaamx2 karma

What made you decide to quit your job? Would you say you're happier now than before?

theparkpoet2 karma

all I ever really dreamed of was being able to dedicate my days to making art. once I realized I had a way of doing that, I went for it. I am so much happier.

pipichua1 karma

How to differentiate between a poet and a rapper?

theparkpoet2 karma

it's not always a clear distinction, but usually a rapper delivers their words to a beat, and usually poetry contains its own beat—also poetry can be printed on the page, but it would seem weird to have a rap that was never rapped but just printed on a page

F_D_P1 karma

How do people react in person when you inform them that this is your "job"?

theparkpoet3 karma

most people I talk to are v interested, have lots of questions, sometimes even seem kind of jealous that I don't have a job and just get to do what I love

and sometimes people instantly categorize me in their minds as basically a beggar

casual_bear1 karma

how do u know bout the pickup artist private telegram chat. what do they talk about? do they discuss targets?

theparkpoet6 karma

pretty easy to find with a little googling. they mostly just bullshit and ask if people are going out to "daygame" or "nightgame". sometimes they post nudes of women who they claim to have "pulled" doing pick-up… which is so fucked up (and maybe even illegal?). and yea, they talk about women they're targeting and ask for advice.

NateVerde1 karma

I believe I saw you in Washington Square Park last weekend?!

theparkpoet11 karma

Probably not, too cold!

BMaack1 karma

I usually only lurk on popular posts like this, but I'm commenting to try and offset the haters.

I do not know you, but I am very proud of you! Escaping the system is a huge risk and so many people go their whole lives taking the safe (and soul-crushing) route. Please continue to inspire those around you!

Also, since this is an AMA, can you please write me a haiku? I will send you a donation

theparkpoet1 karma

hi thank you, I appreciate it!

tbh I don't love taking online requests, so I charge a decent amount of money for it. You can order a poem thru my website: https://www.theparkpoet.com/store

BoxMonster440 karma

Jfc, sorry about the haters. Reddit really sucks sometimes.

What inspired you to choose poetry over e.g. music?

theparkpoet3 karma

Tbh I never thought I was v good at music. Like, I could write some cool parts, I got good at producing / mixing, but I never felt… masterful I guess?

But the poetry was always there, beneath everything—I just thought I'd always do it in private, just for myself.

Also important point, writing poems in public was the first time I was making real money as an artist. If our music had taken off, I'm sure the story would have been different.

causeNo0 karma

Bless you for those poems. You seem to be a good guy.

And fuck you for the "interventions". They're not doing anything wrong. What happened to the right to pursue happiness?

theparkpoet3 karma

if your pursuit of happiness involves repeatedly making women feel uncomfortable again and again as you try to find the ones who you can use to make you feel better about yourself—you're a shitty person!

AnEpicTaleOfNope-1 karma

V interesting job, every day must be v different! How do you approach writing a poem for someone, do you write based on how they come across to you, or how you feel at the time? I'm intrigued if you have a method as I guess you have to write and be inspired pretty fast! (also thanks for disrupting the pickup artists when you can)

theparkpoet-1 karma

The approach is to respond as fully as I can to the moment, to how they come across, to how I'm feeling, to everything. And then to shut my brain up and wait for a poem to start, and then very quickly write it out.

prevail517-16 karma

Is your voice as annoying as your face?

theparkpoet151 karma

I certainly think so