A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Shawn Berman

with Shawn Berman:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Shawn: I started writing around my freshman year of college. My first influences were my favorite comedians: Adam Sandler, Jim Carrey, Demetri Martin, Larry David, Conan O’Brien, and Mitch Hedberg. I wanted to be a stand-up comedian so bad, and to an extent, I still do. A lot of my work is my stand-up act, condensed into poetry.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Shawn: All these people are still some of my biggest influences, especially Adam Sandler. I think it takes a lot of talent to make people laugh and to be yourself. I’m not writing about serious things. It took me a long time to realize that it’s okay to goof around and to not be serious.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work/describe?

Shawn: I grew up in Albany, NY. There’s a real working class mentality there. That definitely influenced my writing. Has made it more grounded in reality, I would say. I’m living in New York City right now. There’s so much talent around me. It really forces me to keep pushing myself and to expand my comfort zone.

Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?

Shawn: I just put out my first collection of poetry called Mr. Funnyman. I’ve been working on this project for about 5 years. It’s all my material that I would love to perform in front of people at the Laugh Factory one day. I’m very proud of the work in this book.

https://amzn.to/3yrVhvx Amazon link

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer/poet?

Shawn: I would say performing stand-up for the first time in college. Being able to make people laugh was addicting. I’ve been chasing that feeling ever since.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Shawn: I’m a pretty big movie buff. I’ll watch anything. The crappier the better.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects you’d like to promote?

Shawn: I just released Mr. Funnyman and that’s available for only $5 on Amazon! Next month, I have a collection of humorous cinema-inspired essays, At the Movies, dropping with Alien Buddha Press. The magazine I run, Daily Drunk http://thedailydrunk.com/, is doing a lot of kick-ass things. We recently released Nostalgic AF: A Video Game Anthology edited by Nick Olson https://www.amazon.com/Nostalgic-AF-Video-Game-Anthology/dp/B0972ZS8GX. We are in the process of putting together One Anthology to Rule them All (which, of course, is a LOTR anthology edited by Josh Sippie). We have a lot of cool projects happening at DD. It wouldn’t be possible without the awesome community that we’ve built there!

Q8: What is one of your favorite lines from a poem/writing of yours?

Shawn: From my recent collection, Mr. Funnyman:

“there’s something to be said about destroying the system, but i’m not equipped enough to talk about that mostly because i’m pretty clueless when it comes to economics.

but you know what i am good at?

picking out the right hashtags to use on a selfie to ensure maximum exposure on social media.

did you see how many people liked the photo of us sharing a giant ice cream cone

under the moonlight

on the brooklyn bridge

with the caption: we were mint to be?

like 15.

i’m surprised the algorithm didn’t explode

right on the spot

after exposing its one and only weakness:

couples in love,

feeling hopeful after a first date

has gone well.

it’s truly a remarkable thing

if that mushy concept was actually real. Suckers.”

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Shawn: Probably my dad. He’s a comedy nerd and knows what works in regard to joke formats. He’s pretty honest when it comes to writing. It’s good to have someone in your corner rooting for you who’s not afraid to tell you something sucks.

other links:






Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Reggie D. Johnson (aka R.D. Johnson)

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Reggie: I started writing at the age of nine as a hobby I did on summer vacations. Langston Hughes was one of my first influences.

Q2: Who is your biggest influence today?

Reggie: The writers I’ve come into contact on social media who I’ve become very good friends with: Natalie Hernandez (@yerrrnandez), Luis Delossantos (@CoolerStoryMarc), Harold Fonseca (@halfxyou), Elijah Horton (@elijahhorton94), Chris Butler (@CLBpoetry) Daniel Alvarez (@itsdannylondon), Bruce Llano (@Beeruce_Sama).

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing/art?

Reggie: Cincinnati, Ohio. I was taught to write about things you know and have experienced. Speaking personal truths will help to strengthen your writing.

Q4: Have any travels away from home influenced your work & describe if so?

Reggie: Yes, I recently took a trip to Orlando, Florida to meet up with some of my friends who inspire me continuously. That time away and being in that environment with all them helped me create some dope content that I can’t wait to share with everyone very soon.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a poet/writer/artist?

Reggie: When Drake released his Take Care Album. After 9, I didn’t pick up poetry again seriously til I turned 19. That album showed so much versatility in his writing and the ability to express his emotions through art was inspiring.

Q6: Favorite activities to help you relax when not writing/creating?

Reggie: Playing video games, listening to music.

Q7: Any recent or upcoming promotional work you’d like to do now?

Reggie: I have a surprise project dropping July 1st, with Daily Drunk Magazine and then at the end of the summer I’ll be releasing my tenth book.

Q8: One of your favorite lines from a poem of yours?

From my poem 'Look At Me' found in my book, Cuarentena: 
                   "I am black
                    I am then
                    I am now
                    I am what's to come
                    We are not less than
                    We are equal
                    We just want to be heard
                    And not for your entertainment
                    I am black
                    And you will not take that away from me"


Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Reggie: A few people. Natalie Hernandez & Luis Delossantos taught me to not minimize the writing. Keep writing as it doesn’t matter how long it is or that it needs to stop at a certain length. Harold Fonseca, Elijah Horton taught me to expand the creativity. My love for music has now transcended into new territories as it has not only incorporated in my writing but I’ve had the pleasure of doing songwriting too. Also, Harold and Chris Butler have taught me to be the voice of a generation. In these last few years with everything going on in the world, the way I could ease my thoughts was in writing. I thank all of them for pushing me to the next level.

Bio: Follow R.D. Johnson on twitter @r_d_Johnson Check out his work on the Poetry Question with RDJ’s Replays https://thepoetryquestion.com/category/replay-rdj/ Read His work on dailydrunkmag.com R.D. Johnson is a pushcart nominee, a best of the net nominee for Fevers of the Mind “(Not Just On) Juneteenth”

Bio: Follow R.D. Johnson on twitter @r_d_Johnson R.D. Johnson is a pushcart nominee, a best of the net nominee for Fevers of the Mind “(Not Just On) Juneteenth” Reggie is an author reigning out of Cincinnati, Ohio. At the age of 9, he found a love for writing while on summer vacation. With influences from music, Reggie has created a rhythmic style of writing to tell his personal experiences and beyond. Reggie has several books available on all major online retailers and his work can be seen in various literary magazines. He currently has two columns, Drunken Karaoke featured on Daily Drunk Magazine & REPLAYS featured on The Poetry Question. https://thepoetryquestion.com/category/replay-rdj/

Poem by R.D. Johnson: “Just a Scratch” (new poetry)

Poetry by R.D. Johnson : (Not Just On) Juneteenth

4 Poems by R.D. Johnson : Malcolm & Martin, Angels, Dr. King’s Dream & February 1st (re-post)