My road in life has been direct.
Grew up feeling like he was a sensitive kid, but was raised in an environment that didn't encourage artistry or emotion.
At the age of 19, he knew he wanted to be a famous poet, but he also knew he didn't want to follow any traditional routes.
He married at a young age, and his wife worked full-time so that he could focus on his writing.
After receiving hundreds of rejection slips, he decided to get a full-time construction job and push poetry to the back burner.
He still sought out poetry readings whenever he could, but was always dismayed in the lack of emotion in the performances.
Developed his own open-mic poetry night, where he'd passionately bring his words to life on the stage.
Says there was initially some resistance to this new form; some of the traditional poets felt like he was making a mockery of the art.
But his emotional performances, which he called "poetry slams," grew in popularity; today, he is credited with founding the poetry slam movement.
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