About me

I wrote my first poem, “Papa Tree and the Seasons,” when I was 9 years old. It told the story of the life cycle of leaves, honing specifically on the fate of one little leaf who is the last one clinging to the branch before winter comes. I bound this poem into a little book, filled it with color pencil drawings, and proudly offered it up to my parents one evening. And I see now that this quite accurately represents the instincts behind most of my 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. I have always believed that much of writing is actually about seeing, about paying attention, listening in, getting up close and personal with the details, and I have built a poetry practice  - and a life practice - based on this.

My first job out of college was at a PR firm whose primary client was Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. In between writing tip sheets and press releases, I found myself immersed in the whimsical world of clowns and daredevil acrobats and dancing elephants, and I began to see the larger connection between the written page and the landscape outside of it. Since then, I have sought out creative adventures to weave into my writing life, and have designed projects that bring writing opportunities to unexpected places.  My 2010 Tour de Word project was a two-month, 12,000-mile driving trip circumnavigating 30 states, during which I led writing workshops for children and adults. In early summer 2012, I launched Type Rider: Cycling the Great American Poem, riding my bicycle for 40 days and more than 1,200 miles from Amherst, MA to Milwaukee, WI towing a typewriter behind me, stopping daily to gather words from strangers in the communities I visited. I followed that with Type Rider II: The Tandem Poetry Tour, a tandem bike ride from Boulder, Colorado to Beloit, Wisconsin in July 2014, during which my partner and I built 25 Little Free Libraries and wrote poetry for the people we met along the way. This past summer, we circumnavigated the country, turning our 1965 Covered Wagon caravan into a mobile museum of miniature books for The Tiny Book Show and led more than 60 book-making workshops for kids and adults in more than 25 states. The motivation behind these and other projects is to inspire people to share their stories, to make writing more accessible – especially to those who don’t consider themselves writers - and to build community through creative action.

Various and sundry...

I'm almost 5'11", have more freckles than I can count, am left-handed, have a nearly undefendable hook shot, and I love making crepes. I'm writer who believes that creativity doesn't need to happen in isolation. A bike-riding enthusiast who doesn't know very much about bicycles. A dabbler of photography and lip-sync videos. A middle child. A Taurus. A decent juggler. A lover of nuance and small gestures. A creature of both habit and spontaneity. An INFP. A perennial 12-year-old. A seeker of hidden places and mystery. A reluctant housekeeper.

I was born in Nova Scotia, lived on an Israeli kibbutz for 5 years, spent two years in Virginia and then the Central Coast of California, lived in San Francisco for 16 years, but I usually say I'm from New England because I spent the entirety of my adolescence in New Hampshire. I currently live - somewhat improbably, but it's a good story (remind me to tell it to you) - in northern New Jersey, am married to a ridiculously talented artist, and have two (very fast-growing) teenage stepsons.

I have been a freelance writer and editor for more than 15 years. I began a weekly poetry practice in 2005 - 10-line Tuesday - and my poems now reach more than 1,500 people each week. I have self-published 5 books, including selected poems from my (terribly neglected) blog, "One Paragraph at a Time."

At the heart of it all, I remain curious, engaged, and hopeful about the world around me, and continue to discover new ways to be a part of it and to share my experiences through writing, exploring, celebrity photo re-enactments, and other outlets. I love leading a life of creative investigation - even with all the uncertainties it comes with - because it helps me connect with and support others who are driven by similar instincts. And I never stop forgetting how lucky I am.

Wanna get in touch? Contact me at hello@mayastein.com