Culture Anonymous? San Francisco poet revisits his first 90 days

SF Weekly profiles Charles Kruger, who last year made a formal decision to take the Bay Area literary world by storm. You’ve probably heard that phrase a lot, but in this case it’s true: Kruger called his project, in which he attended 90 cultural events in 90 days, Storming Bohemia. Confronted with the loss of his job as a high school English teacher and the culture and community that came with it, he turned to a method that had helped him reach 20 years of sobriety– one more things that made him stand out among the “bunch of hipsters” on the scene.

When Charles decided to go sober, he was advised to attend 90 meetings in 90 days. As it worked, and seeing the potential for a parallel rebirth, it dawned on Charles to try the same tactic on a cultural level.

It had been ten years since Kruger himself had written a poem, but his immersion in the literary community quickly triggered his muscle memory, functioning almost as a form of rehabilitative therapy. He was writing poetry again in no time, this time for his health.

The reason Charles was able to dash out poems is because they weren’t important to him. Art, for him, is “born out of a need to justify myself. To feel like my life is meaningful.” This vision of art as catharsis produces art as a secondary function; the main goal is health. With his life on the mend, with a purpose reinstated, all he had to do was put a pen in his hand. Poetry–it’s just like riding a bicycle.

Originally Published: February 23rd, 2011