Three Shots With… CJ Bowerbird, Poet

Welcome to Three Shots with Beijing Cream, where local personalities spill their beans 1.5 fluid ounces at a time. Produced and directed by Gabriel Clermont and Anthony Tao.

Our guests this week aren’t local per se, but Beijing honararies by virtue of their attendance at last month’s Bookworm International Literary Festival. Writers from around the world converged on the Bookworm from March 8 to 22, but two were intrepid enough to plant themselves in front of our cameras’ uncomfortably hot lights to field ridiculous, droll questions that began, “If you could start an east-coast/west-coast-type feud with any writer…”

In a bloodsport dominated by the young, the foolhardy, the high-strung and hammy, CJ Bowerbird, a family man from Canberra, stands out with his incisive and topical insights, intelligence grounded in experience, casual humor and elucidating wit. He is also a champion: winner of the 2012 Australian Poetry Slam. Performance poetry often vacillates between art and presentation, but the best practitioners straddle that line so expertly that the air stills, as in the brief silence between one’s final line and applause, and in the aftermath the world grows blank and cold (to paraphrase Mark Strand). For a sense of that, check out Bowerbird on Tipping or Rocking May Cause Injury or Death and Clicktivism.

CJ performed at the Bookworm on March 16, and we caught up with him not long after. Shooting tequila like a true champ — sans salt, the condiment for the callow — he discussed the meaning of poetry in this day and age of hip-hop, and other stuff. We would kindly advise he stay off the mean streets.

Three Shots With CJ Bowerbird was filmed at the Bookworm (Building 4, Nan Sanlitun Lu).

Building 4, Nan Sanlitun Road, Chaoyang District 朝阳区南三里屯路4 号楼(老书虫)

Building 4, Nan Sanlitun Road, Chaoyang District 朝阳区南三里屯路4

Edited by Gabriel Clermont (@gabrieltrane)Special thanks to Kadi Hughes and Mengfei Chen of the Bookworm. Follow CJ Bowerbird on Twitter @CJBowerbird.

Previously: Three Shots With… Morgan Short

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