A beautiful word

Martin James

Photo By Meredith J. Cooper

Meet the two-time “Unofficial B.S. Champion of the World"—Martin James. The 55-year-old Englishman has been frequenting poetry night at Has Beans for about a year and a half and is the new host of “Slam Fusion.” The free, all-ages weekly night of poetry was recently modified and is now, “An evening of positive, entertaining words.” With poetic updates about his “new frugal and loyal lady,” an ‘89 white Mazda, James hopes to keep the audiences coming back for more.

How long have you been into poetry?

Probably three years. In the ‘60s I appreciated Dylan, Donovan and Leonard Cohen and some of the classic poets but I never really wrote myself. I just appreciated the words and times of the ‘60s. Some of the stuff is as good today as when it was written.

How did you come up with the name Slam Fusion?

I came up with something similar. But my lady friend put Slam Fusion together because she wrote a piece and she used a beautiful word—fusion. And I took that word and I was going to use “A fusion of words.” And then she said, “Well, why don’t you call it ‘Slam Fusion?'” And I ran with it. I think Slam Fusion sums it up.

There is a segment during the night called “B.S.”. What exactly is it?

Impromptu speaking. Making it up as you go along, being able to talk instantly without preparation. It teaches you everyday life skills. B.S. is just a more interesting way of saying exemplary speaking.

What brought you to America?

I’m a hairdresser by trade, and that’s what brought me to America—to New York. And being a little older it’s kind of difficult to get work with gray hair and a beard. So, I’m volunteering at the Jesus Center every Tuesday doing men and women as well on some other days. And it’s great; it’s a great place to share with. As well as my creative stuff, I can share things with them, and it’s a wonderful experience.