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!
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.
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
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.
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?
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?
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.
I'm curious to know how you differentiate a predator (pick up artist) from just some guy trying to make time with someone?
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.
Being in rando parks in NYC, how many times do you see tv crews run by you?
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
Which pens/paper do you find are the most durable and reliable?
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)
What is the most moving moment you’ve had during your career?
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?
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.
All day while I wrote poems, I watched Charley flashing in the light as he fluttered around in the the bowl.
So how exactly do you live off of this?
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.
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
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.
I live in Brooklyn in a brownstone with a bunch of friends, where yes, I pay rent for my room.
How many times have you almost been knocked out confronting people? Can't imagine a guy your stature starting shit in New York lmao
tbh I don't think you usually become a pick-up artist because you're "tough"
Why do you write for strangers in parks?
It's the way I've found of making a living writing poems.
Beginning is the hardest part of everything? How did you manage your beginning?
- Someone who doesn’t have a courage
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.
How does the Winter season effect your work?
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.
In what way did your "inventions" work? It sounds like the PUAs just moved somewhere else to avoid you.
Edit: I meant "interventions".
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.
Do you typically write poems for recurring people who drop by, or is it mostly strangers you've never met? Any favorite regulars?
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
Have you ever considered that people find you annoying and don't need a crazy privileged bored hipster to bother them?
I don't bother people unless they're bothering people. people come up and ask me for poems because they want one.
You eat a lot of cereal?
No. I fucken love rice krispies tho. To the point that I can't buy them because I'll just down the whole box.
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?
yes unfortunately it's all taxable income
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?
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.
Never seen you there. In what part of the park do you sit?
Usually just south of the fountain, in the central circle.
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?
old job was making music while working a dumb online customer service job. love my new life. never been happier.
I just read every single comment and reply on this post.
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?
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.
Hey! Did you think this AMA would be as bad as it is? Like honestly this couldn't have gone well, right?
it made me some money! pissed off a bunch of PUAs! seems like success?
Living in a brownstone in Brooklyn with a bunch of friends broke. Not saving any money but living comfortably broke.
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.
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.
On a scale of 1 to 10 how disappointed in you are your parents?
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.
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?
Do you have screenshots I want it see
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)
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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…
They threatened you by attempting to seduce you? Lmfao Please tell me I read that correctly. Damn near pissed my pants from laughing
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?
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.
I don't go up to people and recite poetry. People come up to me and request poems. Completely voluntary!
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?
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.
Weren't you on House Hunters looking for a new house with a budget of $2mil?
umm I wish?? I can barely afford rent on my apartment.
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.
I think having a zone in the park that the pick-up artists avoid is a Good thing
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?
tbh it's an appropriate euphemism… hard to get away from creating-art-as-the-world-burns not feeling masturbatory
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?
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".
Any tip for aspiring poets? And what’s your main motivation when writing poems?
just write to give yourself goosebumps. don't worry about anyone else.
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?
dumb online customer service job
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?
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.
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?
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.
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?
strangers come up to me and ask for poems
Wasn't unemployed in the beachhouse! Supported myself working online. Didn't have a nationwide tour, we lived in Austin and I worked as a server.
My guy, you came up to me while I was on a date with my now partner and you asked me for my favorite color. I said yellow. Then you asked me for a noun and I said ball. You then proceeded to spend a good five minutes struggling through a poem while all my partner and I could do was watch silently. The poem was about the sun. Groundbreaking. Then you ask me, a then 18 year old, for a donation.
How exactly do you justify asking young people for money for unrequested services?
I know is at least partly made up because I don't just go up to people and start writing them poems. People tell me they want a poem. So, if this did happen, and isn't just a completely made-up story, you asked me for a poem, I wrote you one, and I asked you for a donation. Sounds like at worst, a misunderstanding.
How does it feel to not have an actual job?
really fucking great most of the time—and then sometimes feels really fucking precarious
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.
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).
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?
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
There was a story that you approached someone and asked for a color and an object, then wrote a poem using their response.
Do you do stuff like that or was that story made up?
mm I don't usually do stuff like that. I certainly don't offer poems to people who don't ask for them. I try to make it clear that I would prefer a donation.
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?
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.
hardest part is going weeks feeling like I haven't written anything good.
??? people approach me for poems...
I don't think this actually happened…
if it did, I'm sorry! sometimes I'm in a pissy mood
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.
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
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
Yess, got the idea while I was re-watching that movie.
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..
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.
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?
umm congratulations? did you meet her in the course of cold-approaching dozens of women?
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?
(: (: 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.
I have a lot of questions, number one: How dare you?
this is great, because it's basically what 90% of people are asking
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.
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.
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?
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.
$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?
umm sure… what are you doing with your life right now?
What was your most memorable pick-up artist intervention?
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.
What made you decide to quit your job? Would you say you're happier now than before?
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.
But the interventions work! The pick-up artists started avoiding the section of the park I was in
Do you actually think it worked? Seems like they just took it elsewhere.
Yea, they're definitely just moving to other parts of the park. But I do think having a PUA-free zone is a good thing, and in some sense means the interventions are working. And I think if more people were willing to call them out, it'd get much harder for them to operate anywhere in the park, and would maybe make some of them reconsider what they're doing.
I get extremely sketchy vibes from this post, honestly.
OP, do you have any intentions to address the numerous problems outlined with your practice within this AMA?
OP's justifications seem inconsistent and mostly done through assertions that are themselves unjustified. There have been several problematic hypothetical situations (even real situations!) brought up by commenters that outline potential harm caused by this sort of behaviour, and OP has yet to address these meaningfully.
For example, OP essentially saying "I think it's a good thing to have a zone in the park without pickup artists," or "I'm good at picking out who the pickup artists are."
Both of those statements are HIGHLY contestable, and this has yet to be addressed or even acknowledged by OP.
I think pickup artists are pretty miserable human beings, but frankly, I'm getting the impression that your contribution to the world is strikingly similar in nature.
pls contest the first statement for me… I don't really see how they could be bad
and the second statement: once you know what to look for, the pick-up artists are v obvious. They dress a certain way, they behave a certain away. And once you see them sharking over to woman after woman it becomes obvious.
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?
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!
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?
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
how do u know bout the pickup artist private telegram chat. what do they talk about? do they discuss targets?
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.
Let's talk about that hat. Do you think it compliments your features?
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.
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"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ha I see you around wsp, pretty much everytime I'm there! Is the boyscout look working for you? :D
seems to be working… wish I knew how to actually dress myself
Why don't you do this on the side alongside a part time job seeing as you're often low on money?
And what's the use in taking pictures of these pick up artists?
I don't want a part-time job. I just want to write poems. And I'm able to get by doing that.
Taking pictures of them gets to them quick. Pick-up artists really really don't want to be identified as pick-up artists (unless they're instructors trying to find students).
How do people react in person when you inform them that this is your "job"?
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
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?
once you see a guy shark over to woman after woman, it's pretty clear they're a PUA
Hey remember me? I have never been to the park you hang out in nor read your poems but here's my made up story about you being a pretentious dick because your false sense of heroism is a fucking joke at best, and I don't have to read your poems to tell you are one of those nice guys.
This AMA is hilarious and I'm lol'ing at the rest of the comments here calling you out for your shit
How did you get your poetry published?
how well do you remember the 1st day you started to do this? And do you remember your 1st poem and if you could change anything, what would it be?
tbh my memory is such a trashdump, hard to find anything. wish I had documented the first poem I wrote!
I haven't seen any poetry in this thread yet. Which poem are you most proud of?
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?
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.
How much are you saving for your retirement? Or do you just expect other people to support your lifestyle
haven't been able to save up anything for retirement yet… but I don't think that makes me any different than most Americans
Wait, aren’t /you/ a pick-up artist too? ELI5 what makes you different from them (I’m not accusatory, I’m just curious)
I don't approach people to offer poems, they come up to me and ask for them, so the interactions are mutually consensual
Those are some short-shorts brother! Do you see yourself doing this long-term?
right now, I feel like Iwould love to be able to continue writing poems for the rest of my life.
There is something paternalistic in your feeling the need to intervene in social encounters you’re not a part of, supposedly for the benefit of women who didn’t ask for your help and probably don’t need it.
I mean, I think people eating processed foods is “gross”, but I don’t take it upon myself to rip the potato chip bag out of their hands.
My question is: how much money did you make all-in in 2019?
The pick-up artists intervene in other people's lives that they aren't a part of. Seems fair to intervene in theirs. Especially because the interventions are just me pointing out the fact that they are pick-up artists. I think if the truth is enough to make someone not trust you anymore, something's probably up.
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.
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.
Are you interested at all in travelling and doing this in other big cities?
It seems to me like the kind of thing that could work out. Expenses might be higher while travelling, but if you’re new to a city you might get more business bc you’re new to them.
I do that sometimes! I've written in Miami, Berkeley, SF, LA, Santa Barbara, Santa Fe, Telluride, Aspen. It's a cool way to travel, and to get to see what strangers are like in various places.
Does writers block ever hit you? I imagine a person standing next to you waiting for their poem adds a lot of pressure!
mm I definitely go days or even weeks sometimes without feeling like I'm writing anything good. But I try to just keep writing! I've learned to trust that eventually I'll write a poem I love.
And I kind of love the pressure. Doesn't leave you any time to think & plan, you just have to trust yourself & write.
So what makes you different from pick up artists?
are you serious? I wear sign that says ASK ME FOR A POEM and people come have voluntary interactions with me in which I'm not trying to manipulate them into having sex...
Hey what do you say about the fact you talk about going to Hawaii in the cold season in one of your videos yet still contend you're "broke" and not being supported by family? The rich playing pretend at poverty is sickening.
My good friend's family is from there. I was staying with them. Even including the flights it was way cheaper than staying in New York for the winter. Though certainly knowing people who live in warm places and are willing to let me stay with them is definitely a huge advantage that not everyone has.
Roses are red
New York can get snow
Tell us OP,
Is this how you thought this would go?
didn't realize exactly how many men would come out of the internet hole, but yea, pretty much
How much of your day on average is spent writing poems in the park? Do you have any other hobbies on the off-time not related to art and the like?
when the weather's nice I'll spend 5-10 hours a day writing poems. I love to make sculpture. I read books. waste my fucking life scrolling thru infinite feeds, as one does.
How to differentiate between a poet and a rapper?
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
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)
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.
How common is it to see these pickup artists in NYC? A lot of them? I imagine every major city has a bunch chasing women
tbh I didn't really even notice them my first two years. I don't know what happened, but suddenly I realized they were all over.
How do you expect to retire? Or find a place to stay when you can no longer support yourself?
I think I'll be able to support myself for a long time. When I can't, who knows? Maybe I call it quits.
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?
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
Lol you're a fucking loser dude. Go get a job dude?
umm why do you care whether I have a job??
no savings. every winter pretty much wipes me out. hoping I can save some money in the coming years. hoping this project keeps growing.
I don't know if you're still reading comments, but here's a simple question :
After doing so many poems, what would you say is the number one crutch you would say you rely too much on? Like you write a good one, pat yourself on the back, then realize "Dammit I did it again".
mmm my brother called me out for what he calls the "religious turn" at the end of my poems. like the last two lines will attempt to suddenly go huge and mystical. and he's totally right, I see it all the time now.
mostly I just hate how easy it is for me to write an "acceptable" poem. I'll go a whole day and realize I haven't written anything I actually care about.
How does one get into a private pickup artist Telegram chat? Also, did they succeed in seducing you?
v easy to find with a little googling, not actually that private
So basically your mommy and daddy pay your living expenses for you to do this?
What do they say about people where you can see the whites above the Iris?
What was the point if this post intentionally? To get more attention to make more money, or what? Genuine question btw. Youd think that poems would be special, and no one will really come if your just a guy that throws out a million poems a day instead of being special right?
yea, more attention => more money. I made ~$100 from this post, which isn't much, but not bad for a day on the internet.
I see the specialness. There's this one photographer I was reading about who goes on these looong trips, like months long, to remote locations, and then takes ONE SINGLE PHOTOGRAPH.
With my poems, I'm just trying to get in contact with my deepest unconscious imagination. Once in a while I can get there and surprise myself. I think about 1% of my poems are actually good.
But people don't seem to care that so many other people have my poems. They love getting their own.
Are these women uncomfortable? I mean you can't really forbid someone to start a conversation with a woman
lol, I don't forbid it. I just go up sometimes and give everyone the full information—that the men are pick-up artists. seems like if telling the truth is enough to turn the women away, something has gone wrong.
Jfc, sorry about the haters. Reddit really sucks sometimes.
What inspired you to choose poetry over e.g. music?
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.
Do you ever use a typewriter? I've seen a couple of hipster street poet types doing that.
No I just handwrite the poems. All the other "street poets" have typewriters tho.
Have you ever tried coaching pickup artists?
lol I've considered it. there seems to be a lot of money in it. these men are paying thousands of dollars to have some weenie tell them to be brave.
How does it feel to be a parody of yourself? You’re every negative stereotype of liberal arts kids come to life, except the ones I’ve known would never debase themselves by comparing love to “a train barreling towards you”. No disrespect, but you’re precisely the reason I can’t tell people I read and write poetry without them rolling their eyes at me. “I'd like to pull people's attention away from the sort of petty concerns that often haunt our hours, towards the sacred & sensual & strange.” How long do you have to sit and think to be able to turn every sentence into purple prose?!
I agree. V purple. I hate everything you've quoted of mine. I dislike most of what I write. ~1% I think is good, and that's what I spend my winters editing and then put into the books. V little thinking involved in the creation—apparently my default mode is extravagantly purple. But I do think occasionally the personality falls away and I catch a poem I actually like.
What poets you love?
How many zero interest credit cards have you taken out in the past 3 years?
Fuck all who have given him shit, he ain't worth your crying time. He got the guts to do what he loves and keeps at it. Good job man. Keep it up.
My question is thus then this - being a poet requires emotion after emotion. How do you decompress and recover from such obvious trauma after receiving backlash and insult? And do you ever take out your anger in your poetry? I am not talking about reddit, I am talking about pouty PUAs and insecure males. You must be affected after having written over 10,000 poems. Do your emotions just never run out or feel drained? And if so, do you force yourself to just keep writing anyway? Does that in anyway hurt you?
Therapy? I mean that sincerely, it isn't shameful or something insulting. It is out of a sense of care that I ask.
I have only had positive experiences with you as have very fine folk who I have associated with. You're doing just fine, keep it up, I will see you again soon and maybe you will have bought yourself a paper cutter by then.
Take care man. Salaam.
When I started, it was hard to deal with how raw I felt all the time. It was hard to ride the subway without feeling like crying, being around so many people, so full of suffering. But I guess I've learned to keep it all flowing, to not hold on to any of it? The pouty PUA stuff just slides right off.
I do feel drained sometimes, and know to call the day of writing quits and give myself time to myself and the people I love.
Would love to find a good (affordable) therapist in the city.
Thanks for the kind words. Appreciate you.
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.
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…
Any good poetry accounts on IG you'd reccomend checking out?
Also what do your clients normally ask for in one of your poems?
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.
I believe I saw you in Washington Square Park last weekend?!
Probably not, too cold!
So from what I gathered here this guy is a whiteknight with a victim complex that gets mad when people don't want his stupid poems and thinks he is somehow superior giving warnings literally no one asks for.
I have a question, How does it feel knowing you are nothing in life, a failure, and the only thing you will be remembered is for annoying locals and this shit thread?
Luckily, at a universal scale, we all are nothing in love, and will be remembered for nothing by no one.
Who was the most famous person who has asked for a poem? And what was it about?
Camila Cabello asked for a poem about her little sister.
You mention in another comment that you can tell a passer-by from a PUA and that you only intervene against PUA.
So my question is... confirm that you decide which men are allowed to speak to women in this park?
I don't decide that the PUA can't speak to women. I just go over and let everyone know the full situation. It turns out that pointing out that a PUA is a PUA is enough to make the woman completely uninterested. Makes you wonder....
Hey Pete, I'm from your hometown! Thanks for writing me a poem a while ago. Hope all is well and the fam is good.
How do you like city life? Do you miss CA/MA?
Citylife is fun. But everytime I get out to some place more rugged & beautiful I wonder what the fuck I'm doing.
I agree, I get annoyed by those orgs that have people out on the sidewalk, faking normal human encounters just to get donations. But at least everyone involved knows what's going on. The pick-up artists are trying to hide that they're pick-up artists. I'm just calling attention to what's really going on.
Can you write me a poem about my anus and why it insists on being so hard to clean?
would love to, you can order one here: https://www.theparkpoet.com/store/personalized-poem
I dont suppose you would be interested in conversing with a *real* dating coach (which I am)? I dont mean for this to be a promo by any means, but situations with these pick up artists as you described are what actually inspired me to start a dating coach company in portland, or. I eschew anything harassing or unethical and take more of a self-improvement sort of orientation. Being scientific and genuine is key. Well let me know if you are interested!
www.portlanddatingcoach.com incase you are curious
interesting. do you promote cold approaching? what's your view on that
Isn't poverty fun when you can turn it off and on?!
I think this is a fair criticism. I'm really not trying to romanticize poverty in any way, though. When I mention that I'm broke, it's because I'm broke. Yes, I chose this life. I love getting to write for a living. I also sometimes wish I wasn't so broke.
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
Do you have good handwriting? Any calligraphy skills? If i was to buy a poem from you i would pay for the upsell for the calligraphy on some nice cardstock so i can frame it.
When i come through the park i will keep a look out for you. I got engaged under the arch in Washington square park in the middle of the night it was snowing. My wife got stuck at work and i couldn’t wait because her mom couldn’t keep a secret.
People seem to like my handwriting. It's not quite calligraphy but I think it's nice.
Come by and get a poem! I'm there almost every day when it's warm.
How do you feel about now being my hero because you made all the insecure PUAs/incels on here very mad?
I know, right? they god maaad
Are you aware that if you had a lightning bolt on your forehead you would look like Harry Potter?
would rather have the full-face lightning bolt a la Bowie
I love to write poetry! I post snippets of mine on Instagram and found that if I post cool pictures, some people sometimes read what I write. I think it’s so cool you do this every day. Would you say that all lot of your poems are about the person who is paying you to write them? Descriptions, things you noticed about them? Or are they more varied than that?
More varied than that. It's rarely just descriptions of the people. More like what talking to them makes me feel. The images that intuitively come to me based on our encounter.
Why is every reply from OP being downvoted immediately? Is this thread brigaded by butthurt pick-up artists? What's going on?
Because if you YouTube this guy, you'll see him screeching at people and having tantrums when they don't want a poem from him. He's a dick, that he now decides to go harass guys picking up women is just selectively targeting his whatever his malfunction is, harassment.
Great pigeon story: a few years ago there was a hub-bub in the park community because someone came and KIDNAPPED a ton of pigeons and apparently put them in their van and drove them off to another city to sell them to shooting ranges.
What's it like having wealthy parents?
I know there's talk in this thread of me having wealthy parents, but we were definitely just normal-ass middle-class. My parents were lawyers for the state (i.e. not making the big bucks). At one point my dad quit his job to watch my little brother and sister because they were paying as much in childcare as he was making.
I mean, yes, from a global perspective, my parents were wealthy. But, for instance, growing up and going to school, I was always aware that I was surrounded by people with a lot more than me.
Who is the most interesting person you’ve written a poem for?
mm a girl came up and asked for a poem for her little sister who was with her. afterwards she posts a picture of me on her instagram and I realize she was Camila Cabello. preteens immediately start showing up in the park, asking me where she is. I mean, I don't think celebrities are actually interesting… more interesting are just the regular-ass New Yorkers who are willing to let their guard down and be real with me. It's beautiful to have a really genuine moment with a complete stranger.
So you're a "vigilante" fighting the 'crime' of trying to respectfully approach the opposite gender in safe public spaces. In your worldview, how are men supposed to approach women they're interested in?
lol did someone say those words you're quoting? cold-approach based pick-up isn't "respectful". it's based on manipulation. it treats women like interchangable commodities.
edit: a word
Oh wow can you post one of your earliest poems and then one of your most recent ones?
How much does a person typically pay per poem? There's a person where I live that sites it and I've always wanted to ask for one but I don't know how much to offer.
I don't want to be ruse or ungrateful, but also I'm only mildly interested and don't want to spend too much.
I usually tell people to decide what they think the poem's worth. To me, $5-20 is a good range.
When will you stop making a mockery of the art form with your self published bullshit and take poetry seriously? Because these are bad.
what poets do you love?
I live comfortably. I buy the food I like. I get to travel occasionally. But I know that I'm one medical emergency away from being in trouble.