Guest Blogger: Poet, Artist and Mad Biolgist John Myers

 John Myers is a poet and developmental biologist who lives in Missoula, Montana. His manuscript, Cider Kit, was a finalist in Omnidawn’s 2010 Book Prize. He blogs at

Writing is like collage, for me, and I work in both media. Writing is about recombination and surprise for me, and, because I have a background in science, experiment. What happens if I move this line down here, this bandage of wind into the hat. I think about wolverines when I write, of chased brass and sleet. But my favorite form of creativity is collaboration, whether it be visual art, conversation, or writing. If I were to tell you this poem is governed by three main rules, what would it be? Which operations could someone follow, not knowing this poem, and come to a similar stance with repect to language? I like to think. I like to write.

I grew up in Pennsylvania, went to college in Ohio, at Oberlin, and finally moved west three years ago to attend graduate school at the University of Montana. My job now is as a habilitation aid in a group home for persons with developmental disabilities.

I’m gay and I’m an artist, and what does that mean? I don’t think it’s much different than anyone else I know, because I believe everyone is creative. How do I embrace that I like to build it and what happens after I’ve built it. The joy is in the making and in the attending for me and this morning in Missoula it’s snowed. The trees are covered and my car is a diamond patent pending. My task today is to cobble together a collage or a show. So I look up weird party favors on google images. My process likes to be open to chance and I love new ways of letting chance in. This is one reason why I love to collaborate. I collaborate with poets locally one on one and further away using gchat or googledocs. Maybe this blog post sounds like I work for Apple, how much I mention their products. I find pleasurable anything that allows greater expression. I enjoy solitude and the large spruce outside my window here.

Seemingly so in the air, I didn’t start writing until after I graduated from college. I began writing as an experiment and because I like it, I still do. I was worked in a developmental biology lab at Case Western Reserve University and studied poetry with Sarah Gridley, a radically kind and radically intelligent poet who encouraged me to apply to MFA programs.

My poems compass my affections, the way my collages are nothing like my sense of sight. Visual art is something that comes to my like a magnet comes to metal. The materials are there for me and I use them. I hope language thinks of me that way. The atlas, I’m told, is compliments of you, and, I agree, is adorable, not that I’m putting it up on my wall or anything, rest assured. My favorite? More than a hand but less than a fever. An attitude in language is like a weal or cleavage, both of which mean two different things that contradict one another but one is left feeling satisfied and true.

Some of my favorites are Elizabeth Bishop and Cesar Vallejo.

Posted in cesar vallejo, collaboration, collage, elizabeth bishop, guest blogger, john myers, oberlin, sarah gridley, university of montana.

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