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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin Aleshire

Feature article in NEON Magazin

Last summer, while I was working in Washington Square Park in NYC, a woman with a German accent asked for, "Just a short poem, please." A few months later she contacted me for an interview with the magazine she works for, NEON - which seems to be the VICE of the German-speaking world, run by Stern, one of the largest media groups in Europe. At the time I was doing an art residency at BluSeed Studios in the Adironacks, and there wasn't enough internet access to Skype, but we managed to send eachother questions and answers over the next few months - including some inflammatory statements about how the Democratic Party is betraying the Left, etc etc.

The morning after returning to New Orleans just before Christmas, they sent a photographer to do a shoot in the French Quarter, who turned out to be Will Widmer, a real mensch who has shot for everybody from the New Yorker to Al Jazeera and the French GQ. A few days ago I finally got the print issue in the mail, and it's not available online, so here's an image of the article I found on Tumblr.

Benjamin Aleshire, poet for hire, typewriter poetry

I can't read it, of course - but my German-speaking friends tell me it's quite flattering, and my political statements fell on the editing room floor. "Weltverbesserer" means "World-improver", which is quite a lot to live up to, but I'll try.

They also included a poem of mine, "Armure Propre", - but the editors were a little too eagle-eyed, and they actually altered the title of the poem to "Amour Propre" - which takes away the whole point of the poem, a play on words in French which means, one's own armor, as opposed to self-respect, pride, etc.

(For the photoshoot I had borrowed my friend's cream suit, who had left it at my house house after subletting my room for the fall - I got it covered in bike grease, but luckily Q Lee Cleaners on Basin St made it good as new, and gave me a free calendar to boot)

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