Maya Stein wrote her first poem, “Papa Tree and the Seasons,” when she was 9 years old. It told the story of the life cycle of leaves, honing specifically on the fate of one little leaf that is the last one clinging before winter comes. She bound this poem into a little book, filled it with color pencil drawings, and proudly offered it up to her parents one evening. She sees now that this quite accurately represents the instincts behind most of her work to date – the desire to capture that which is most fleeting, to locate the heart of its beauty and power, sustain its life through language, and share that language with others.
Maya has since self-published four collections of writing, most recently “How We Are Not Alone,” a compilation of work from her poetry blog. Since 2005, Maya has kept a weekly writing practice, “10-line Tuesday,” and her poems now reach more than 1,100 people each week. She also leads “Feral Writing” workshops, both live and online, providing mentorship and guiding students through simple, often playful exercises and activities that help strengthen their creative instincts and develop a writing practice that sticks.
Over the past few years, Maya has sought out creative adventures to weave into her writing life. Her 2010 Tour de Word was a two-month, 12,000-mile driving trip circumnavigating 30 states, during which she led writing workshops for children and adults. In early summer 2012, she launched “Type Rider: Cycling the Great American Poem,” riding her bicycle for 40 days and more than 1,200 miles from Amherst, MA to Milwaukee, WI, towing a typewriter behind her and stopping daily to invite strangers to contribute their words to a growing, collaborative work. This coming summer, she is offering the next iteration of this project with “Type Rider II: The Tandem Poetry Tour, ” during which she will ride a tandem bicycle with her partner and tow two typewriters more than 1,400 miles from Boulder, Colorado to Beloit, Wisconsin. Along the way, they will be writing personalized poetry for the people they meet, and they are partnering with Little Free Library to help build new free book exchanges in the rural communities they visit.
Maya’s poems, projects, books, and other tidbits are available on her website: www.mayastein.com.