Recently (October 13, 2007) described by The New York Times as "a spoken-word pioneer"on the front page of its Metro Section in a Jim Dwyer "About New York" column, his career trajectory from the mid-70's to the mid-80's led Poez from the sidewalks of Harvard Square to concert engagements in Paris and New York. There was no one else like him. "A sonic fantasia," said The New York Times at that time (Jack Anderson, May 1, 1983). "A voice musician ... a young man with a flow of words like a river ... like a jazz instrument" is how The New York Daily News (Ernest Leogrande, July, 1979) described Poez (Paul L. Mills) early in his career as a performance poet, which began in 1976. "Plays his voice as a violinist moves the bow across the strings ... beyond the writing, beyond the performing, to a personal portrayal that is a virtual song" The Aquarian Weekly (Diane Umansky, July 29, 1981). "Une presence 'vocale' etonnant et imprevu," were the words used in July, 1982 by Le Figaro, "Incroyable et extraordinaire ... les mots deviennent soudaine rythme et musique" agreed Le Quotidien, of his concert engagement at Le Theatre du Rond-Point on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, when Patrice Regnier's RUSH Dance Company joined him in live performance of his original work, "Spontaneous Combustion." And back in New York: "the obvious relish that only a creator can bring to his own poetry ... punching, pulsating lines" Backstage (Jennie Schulman, August 13, 1982).
Earlier, "Brilliant in both his roles ... a fine sense of poetry," had been the judgment of Boston After Dark critic Peter Filichia, when, in 1969, Paul Mills appeared in the T.S. Eliot's poetic drama, Murder in the Cathedral at Boston University. Later, as Poez, he found and created audiences for poetry in the streets, parks, cafes, clubs, and theatres of Boston, New York, San Francisco, London, and Paris, sharing the bill in live, radio, and television programs with such performers as William Burroughs, Mose Allison, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee, The Roche Sisters, Suzanne Vega, Richard Hell, Steve Forbert, and Shawn Colvin in New York at CBGBs, The Bottom Line, The Bitter End, Kenny’s Castaways, Folk City, Trude Heller’s, The Ginger Man, The Pyramid Club, and Charles Ludlam's Ridiculous Theatre, on television and FM radio broadcasts. Two of New York's nationally-known poets, veterans of the spoken word scene, more recently offered the following impressions on "Whatever Happened to Poez?", a web page dedicated to the groundbreaking artist: "The first performance poet I had ever seen, decades before anyone coined a phrase like “spoken word. ... He didn’t so much stalk the stage as swoop at it. ... More than twenty years have passed, and this poet holds his own clear space in the amazement of my memory." -- Jackie Sheeler, author of The Memory Factory, curator of the Pink Pony West readings at the Greenwich Village Cornelia Street Cafe, and director of www.poetz.com, one of the premier online guides to spoken word poetry. "A rogue poet, lone wolf, his own mission. ... He really got to me. Brilliant... iconoclastic... savvy... bitter." -- Bob Holman, producer of the PBS series United States of Poetry, author of A Couple of Ways of Doing Something, and founder of the Lower East Side's Bowery Poetry Club.
In 1987, Paul Mills attended Columbia University, graduating Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1990, with a double major in Literature-Writing at the Columbia Writing Program, and in French Literature, winning the Lily Palmer French Prize and publishing in Quarto, the Writing Program literary magazine. From 1992-1995 he attended UCLA Law School, interned with the ACLU, and began a civil rights and criminal defense practice in Los Angeles, concentrating on police misconduct homicide and street artist and activist First Amendment cases. In 2006, he contacted his ex-girlfriend, a songwriter, who still lived in New York, to find out if there might now be interest in his kind of spoken word poetry. They were married February 11, 2006, and Poez has returned to New York City, with upcoming appearances at the Cornelia Street Cafe and the Bowery Poetry Club.