By Anne Alvarez
Ellyn Maybe shares her name on the poets monument wall alongside Philomene Long, Linda Albertano, Jim Morrisson and a slew of other Venice Poetic Greats. However, you would never know it just by meeting her.
Maybe is shy, gentle, and introspective. She comments on accomplishments and associations in the most nonchalant modest manner.
Such as when she tells me Jackson Browne is one of her biggest supporters; Browne encouraged Maybe to expand her art. She recently finished recording the first full length album collaboration with musical ingénue Robbie Fitzsimmons at Groove Masters, Jackson Browne’s studio. The album is a combination of poetry and music.
Jackson Browne wrote the following on her website. It describes accurately what takes place when listening to Maybe recite her poetry: “I have started to write something about you for your site several times, and each time I am struck by my inability to describe what you do in terms beautiful enough, original enough to do you justice. But it’s always been this way. Who has ever been able to say in other words what a song says? Maybe it’s why I like your poems so much, they say what can only be said in exactly the way you say it. The best way of turning someone on to you is to play you for them”.
Maybe was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1964, where she first began to write during her childhood.
Along with her family, she relocated to Southern California in 1980 seeking reprieve from Wisconsin’s relentlessly cold weather.
In 1994 the family moved once again to the Westside when the family’s apartment in Chatsworth became un-inhabitable due to damage caused by the 1994 Northridge quake.
Maybe wrote her first poem while living in Manhattan, NY in 1986. She was hit with a wave of inspiration while walking past a bookstore window display of a mannequin holding books. “The words just came to me, she recalls.”
I ask her what inspires her poetry now. It ranges from Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen to Stephen Sondheim. “Poems, just come to me, something sparks it and I don’t revise much,” says Maybe.
Maybe sees college campus tours, venues and festivals such as 2013 Symbiosis Festival in the future for the Ellyn and Robbie project.
Ellyn Maybe poetry books are available at Beyond Baroque’s bookstore or Amazon. For more info on Ellyn’s current and future projects check out: ellynmaybe.com or ellynandrobbie.com
DO YOU FEAR ME
Do you fear me cause I wear a purple friendship bracelet?
Do you fear having me as a friend?
Are you afraid to introduce me to your grandparents?
The only perfect thing about me is my perfect lack of confidence
does that freak you out?
I’m fat. How does that sit with you?
I wear political pins does that bother you?
I’m a bookworm. Does that depress you?
Are you terrified cause i’ve been bas mitzvahed
Are you scared cause i think spiders are sacred?
I’m left handed, ooooooooooooo No comment.
Do you worry about me cause i’m a virgin?
Cause i’m loud and sometimes embarrassing
are you wary of spending time with me?
I know where the feminist bookstores are in a whole bunch of states
Does that make you tremble?
People think i’m younger and older than i am
Does that reflect badly on you somehow?
I don’t always comb my hair
can you hear it coming?
Is it my ugliness or beauty that frightens you the most?
Are you afraid of me cause i’m human?
Above: Ellyn Maybe at the Poetry Walls