How to become a Pinstripe Poet:

1. Read these mini essays.
2. Go create.

Read like van Gogh

Books gave van Gogh clarity in the midst of his chaotic life. Now scientists understand why.

Manage like Miles Davis

What does it take to manage a virtuoso like John Coltrane… or Bill Evans… or Herbie Hancock? Ask Miles Davis. He led them all.

Unnumb yourself like Guston

Artists aren’t renowned for their mental wellness. And Philip Guston bore greater traumas than most. But he persevered, eventually accepting himself for who he was.

Adapt like Kasparov

“I always say I was the first knowledge worker whose job was threatened by a machine.” And how did you come back, Garry?

Speak up like Zephaniah

Zephaniah lived many lives: poet, activist, actor, vegan, martial artist, Rastafarian. But he lived them all as himself.

Give like Picasso

Where did Picasso’s genius come from? Other people? Two portraits, painted 26 years apart, drag us into the centre of the artist’s tumultuous relationships.

Earn like Eliot

There are two ways to be a wealthy poet. You can be born rich, like Lord Byron. Or earn a living like T.S. Eliot, who hunched over a desk in the City of London.

Engage like Haring

“I live every day as if it were the last.” You sure did, Keith Haring. You left colourful, boogying figures on the walls.

Shoot like Cartier-Bresson

A gun doesn’t make a hunter. And having a Leica camera with a 50mm lens won’t turn me into Henri Cartier-Bresson. I lack the killer instinct. (For now.)

Invest like Peggy Guggenheim

She called herself the poor Guggenheim. But that was only true because her cousins inherited more than she did. She’d get revenge.

Love like Frank O’Hara

“Personism, a movement which I recently founded and which nobody knows about, interests me a great deal…” If O’Hara was poking fun, it came from a place of love.

Pop like Andy Warhol

Anyone can be famous for 15 minutes. That’s the promise in Andy Warhol’s paintings, films and books. He became a celebrity. You can too.

Pour emotion like Don Norman

Like William Morris before him, Don Norman is a designer who prizes both beauty and practicality. It’s a stance writers can learn from.

Tune in like Tolkien

Is rock the same as stone? Which is jagged? Which is round? You can guess because of your natural feeling for sound and meaning. Tolkien had that sensitivity to an almost superhuman degree.

Do business like Christo

Christo put ordinary objects on display as if they were sculptures. By the end of his life, he was presenting whole buildings as artworks, including the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. He took over the world.

Approach AI like Cobain

To find a way forward, we have to look back. Hop into my time machine to survey the systems used by artists like Bowie and Cobain.

Get inspired like Patti Smith

There’s an abundance of wonders in the world. The egg you ate at breakfast could spark a story of obsessive love and betrayal. Just ask Patti Smith.

Keep going like Hemingway

Hemingway wrote with a pencil in one hand and a drink in the other. And the booze didn’t seem to slow him down. But what was his accelerant? What kept that pencil moving?
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To be continued…

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