Every week, I’ll be doing a mini feature on my site (& blasting it on social media) on activists, artists, and educators who are doing important things in the world. Like Levar Burton says, the only thing these folks have in common is that I like them, and I hope you do too.
This week’s feature is a long-dear friend, Eve Linn. I met Eve at the (magical, talent-rife place that is) Lesley low-residency MFA program– and I’ve yet to meet anyone more thoughtful, more aware of birthdays/anniversaries/weddings/special occasions. Eve’s dedication to paying attention not only makes her an A+ community member, it also shows up in her beautiful, carefully-crafted poetry and letters. I have had a small note on my mirror for years from Eve, which says “Be a sparkler–ignite beauty.” Which is exactly what she does.
Here’s Eve Linn.
Where can we find your work?
My work has appeared in Adanna, Cider Press Review, Red Paint Hill Poetry Journal, So She Speaks, Crow Hollow #5, Crosswinds Poetry Journal, The Critical Flame, Mom Egg Review, The Wild Word, Poetry International online, forthcoming in the Whale Road Review. QuillsEdge Press published selections from my chapbook, Album of Not, now in revision.
Tell us a little about you.
I am happiest in my pajamas drinking a cup of coffee. I love mismatched socks and thrift shop hats.
I am a packrat. I collect art pottery, old photos, anything with handwriting on it, vintage textiles, baby shoes. My favorite color is blue. I love climbing roses, clematis, birch and beech trees. Chocolate mint chip is my favorite ice cream flavor and I can’t drink alcohol. I kiss my cats and read thrillers when the world is overwhelming. I always loose pens and I never have paper when I need it. I hate odd numbers.
You can never have enough blankets or bread. I received my B.A. cum laude from Smith College in Studio Art, a certificate in Landscape Design History from the Radcliffe Seminars Program and my M.F.A. with a poetry concentration from the Lesley University Low-Residency Program.
What does your work engage with?
My work engages with family and memory, both personal and historical. I began my creative life as a painter, so the visual world is hugely important. I often write about paintings, photographs, architecture and landscape.
What were you like as a child?
As a shy child I was body-shamed and teased for being a know-it-all. One of my nicknames was The Dictionary because even in elementary school I was fascinated by words and their origins. Oddly, I was and am a terrible speller! I read constantly and one of my most cherished books was D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths, which provided a whole other world for me to inhabit. I enjoyed adults more than kids, because I could use all the big words I knew. I was the prototype of the “good girl,” so I am thrilled to be considered a badass later in life.
What was the first piece or art that really wowed you?
Monet’s Water Lily paintings stunned me. Their size, coupled with explosive and wondrous swathes of colors, that were both realistic and completely abstract, transported me to another dimension. At ten, I visited the Anne Frank House, an experience I have never forgotten. Anti-Semitism, prejudice, deprivation and evil entered my consciousness. I have studied the history of the Holocaust ever since. Since my twenties, the works of Virginia Woolf have sustained and informed my creative efforts.
What keeps you embodied?
I am a quiet activist. I am a mother. I practice kindness, avoid gossip and tell the truth. I promote the work of poets and writers in my book reviews. I am delving into my childhood trying unravel a difficult family dynamic. Deconstructing old patterns is helping me embody more positive ones. My weekly workshop at the Concord Poetry Center and an on-line group that focuses on showing up to do a practice of your choice every day. You post a photo with hashtags whether or not you practiced. No blame, no shame!
Tell us a story.
There are no horses here. The street lights stay on all night. “I want to be a fireman,” you said. I didn’t know why, but I just agreed. I wanted to be a nurse, since I liked bandaids in their tidy metal box and the tearing sound tape made when I pulled it from the roll. A compartment for each necessity. No cure for your nightmares that woke me. Just my mother’s whispers as she patted your back. I pretended to be asleep. My eyelids wrinkled shut. We slept next to each other in twin beds.
The grown-ups all had red under their eyes and talked with their lips pinched shut to keep the bad things in, so, we shouldn’t hear. Every day after school, there was only one place you wanted to go. The merry-go-round in Central Park. You imagined those horses real, like the pony you left behind, pale dappled grey, like the craters of the moon.
What else should we know?
I have so much gratitude to all my mentors and peers who have supported me. I found these questions to be very challenging to answer. They provided me with a great opportunity to assess my creative goals and consider who I am as poet in the world. Thank you, July for your abundant generosity, friendship and insight into the world of words.