An international publication dedicated to all arts and cultures

Your Subtitle text
Rodeo for the Sheepish       CD by Ellyn Maybe  Contributor -- California

Luciole Press Interview

by Karen Bowles

LP:  Ellyn, your new CD is absolutely gorgeous. It is unique, beautiful, and phenomenally expressive. You serve as an inspiration to so many people, encouraging them by your glowing individuality. My first question to you: were you always the fearless artist you are now? Was there ever a time you felt like you could not speak in your own voice, or ever tried to go with the crowd? 



EM:  Thanks so much for your sweet words Karen! I've always done what came to me, the poems come when they're ready.  I did feel originally that I would be too shy to read my work aloud, but thankfully I had strong encouragement from the get go.


LP: Your words always contain an utter realism and “knowningness” that belies any particular age or situation in life. You serve as an acute observer who relates the most minute details of life in a reflection that serves not just as a mirror for your audience, but more often a microscope that brings greater clarity. I know about the amazing accomplishments you have (we will link to those), but I have yet to see much information about your life. You remain an enigma in some ways. Where were you born? What was it like for Ellyn, the young budding poet, in school? You are simultaneously able to seem shy at times, yet supremely confident in your worth as an artist. Please give some insight into your journey.




EM:  I am from Milwaukee.  In school I gravitated to spending time with the teachers, more than the students, but I did enjoy writing for the school newspaper in high school and made some friends there. I tend to find, if fortunate, a few close kindreds rather than a whole circle of people.   


LP:  You got your name, “Maybe,” because you used to write your name on a list for open readings, then write “maybe” after it, in case you got cold feet.  Is this correct? How did you overcome your trepidations?



EM:  That is true. I think I was fortunate in that the community embraced me. The first time I read I was at an open reading that had 19 readers and wanted 20, so someone lifted my hand up as I hadn’t even signed up for it and people were so sweet. S.A. Griffin was there and after the reading people went out to eat and he quoted my work, and I had heard him read and dug his work too.  To be appreciated is a truly wonderful thing! 

LP:  In “Being an artist,” you mention “shrinking tie-dyed tee-shirts/ cause you were thinking about a poem and/ didn’t notice the washer was on hot water.” Perfectly encapsulates why so many writers get the label of being eccentric or absent-minded, when they are actually so transported and focused on something creative. How prolific are you writing-wise? Do you ever feel, after you have gone to bed, that you must get up to write down a poem that is struggling for release? Do you try to practice a schedule of writing, as some do, or are you a poet who lets it come when it will? Or both?

EM:  My writing as far as prolific goes varies greatly depending on my life.  I wrote a lot while in Prague.  Been writing some poems lately for events that Tommy Jordan (the amazing guy who did the vocals and the art direction for the CD) and I have been performing (at). Also I wrote a bunch of poems for a collaboration with my cousins who take nature photographs.

Yes, if a poem comes it's vital to get up and write it down.  I don't really have a schedule per se, but with the event poems and the nature poems they came quickly. Just like my poems have since I started.

LP:  In “Parallel Universe” (which has appeared in Luciole Press), you mention that you “wonder if there are one million people/ listening at the same time/ to the same Leonard Cohen song/ the one that keeps people from killing themselves.” This brings up an interesting point about connections… sometimes writers are assumed to be completely solitary creatures who do not think about the audience, but only about their words and characters (as the case may be). But you, and a fair amount of poets in your L.A. community like S.A. Griffin, are very empathetic and are very aware of others in their work. You seem to be blazingly human, not afraid of what connects you to others, even if it is by the pain you share. Do you ever consciously think about this connection, or does this always come through naturally? Do you agree with the maxim that poets must always write for themselves, or no one can connect to the poem?


EM:  I think it comes through naturally, but I tend to be someone who really is inspired by other artists and other art forms so that might come through naturally.  I think everyone probably has their own process but it seems the more specific one goes into something the more universal it comes out.  The lack of vagueness and generality seems to be something others grasp more vibrantly.

LP:  The breathtaking poem, “All My Life I’ve Wanted a Great Love,” charts your progress from a hopeful young Ellyn, to an Ellyn who would believe “in cows jumping over the moon” before believing that your great love existed. Yet the poem itself is not negative in any sense, nor does it leave the reader hopeless. Rather than charting unrealistic expectations, you offer poignant pieces of a profound and honest heart: looking for “someone who cries once a year/ who is silly and serious/ believes in myth,” loves poetry and offers it with “a book on my pillow with a rose and a zillion post-it notes marking favorite images.” When did you write this poem? How do you leap across “life’s creeks” on your own in a world where the jokes being told make people cringe, and manners can be non-existent? What faith do you keep, or not, in mankind as an artist who believes that “Being an artist means you don’t feel you have the right to remain silent?”


EM:  I wrote this poem in Prague.  In fact 5 of the 10 tracks from Rodeo for the Sheepish were written while in Prague!

I stay hopeful, cause what's the Beckett title.  “I can't go on, I will go on, I go on...” Sometimes kindred spirits appear and it really does make the world glow.



LP:  How did your lovely CD come about? Did you have the idea, and set about finding a way to make it happen, or did someone pitch the idea to you? Did you have much input in the layout of the CD? I am very glad copies of your poems were included. Truly, this CD is one of the very best I have seen in terms of presentation and accessibility.


EM:  Thanks so much Karen! My cousin Harlan Steinberger, who is the producer and composer, invited me to record a few poems at his studio on click track and it evolved very quickly into the album.  Tommy, who did the layout of the CD, is stellar to work with and was very open to any comments I had and wanted to make sure I was totally happy with how it came out, and I am!



LP:  Take us through the process of choosing which poems to include in the CD. How long did it take to record?


EM:  It came quickly trying to figure out which poems to use, turns out as I mentioned many from the Prague era.  Michael C. Ford, who is one of the associate producers, remembered my piece about Sylvia Plath so that one was included which is very cool.

First I recorded everything on click track.  When the music was composed I went back and rerecorded some poems as knowing the music affected my reading of the work. It was quite seamless really.



LP:  What has the feedback been like?


EM:  Stunningly positive.  (Check out) www.ellynmaybe.fanfeedback




LP:  Who do you envision as your ‘target audience?’


EM:  Very open; (I) hope whoever might resonate with it finds it.




LP:  What are your future plans?



EM:  We are working on turning Rodeo for the Sheepish into a movie musical and perhaps a live stage show too.

If anyone is interested in creating images for a track or perhaps a silent vignette in between the songs, they should please get in touch with me. (

We're very open... it could be live action, animation, painting, photography, dance.



Rodeo for the Sheepish (CD/Mp3)

Rodeo for the Sheepish- Ellyn Maybe is an irresistible force. To read or listen to her poetry is to be gently and completely crushed while simultaneously inspired and charmed. The honesty with which she so exquisitely reveals her vulnerabilities, desires and pain is beautiful and has so many great moments. The first time I listened to it, I was reminded of when I first met her many years ago and how much I liked her and her poetry. One of the stand out tracks on the album, There Were Two Girls Who Looked A Lot The Same, is a perfect example of why one becomes a fan of Ellyn’s immediately. I can’t understand how anyone could not find an aspect of themselves in that piece. This is what Ellyn does so well and so often in her work and on this album.

Reading Ellyn’s poems from the page is one thing but hearing her read them just the way she meant them to be heard is something else altogether. Ellyn has a great sense of humor and reads wonderfully. The musical accompaniment on the album is not mere background filler but a true collaborative effort between Ellyn and the musicians that really works.

Ellyn is a very gifted writer and a true gem. - Henry Rollins

Ordering info:

The CD is $15.
Please send to P.O. Box 10363
Marina del Rey,CA

VISIT Ellyn Maybe's website:

Lots of good things to see! Listen to samples!

CD copyrights belong to Ellyn Maybe
article copyrights belong to Luciole Press and Ellyn Maybe
Website Builder