Who are some of your inspirations?
I love show tunes, Stephen Sondheim, Gershwin, Lerner and Loewe. There are so very many great ones! Irving Berlin, Kander and Ebb, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Rodgers and Hart, Cole Porter, Leonard Bernstein. I recently saw a great documentary on Johnny Mercer. I love Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Phil Ochs, Joni Mitchell, Dan Bern, Duke McVinnie. I also love film scores, Bernard Herrmann, Georges Delerue. I love film so very much, I went to film school in Prague for two years, amazing city. Some filmmakers I love include Billy Wilder, Francois Truffaut, Martin Scorsese, Stanley Kubrick, and Milos Forman.
When did you start writing?
When I was a little girl I wrote stories, being of low self-esteem; it was too fun so I stopped ’til I moved to NYC when I was 20 and the poems just arrived. I haven’t stopped since.
Can you say something about your process?
Something tends to spark a poem and it gels quickly. It has been this way since I began whether the source of inspiration is a photograph, an event, work or love. I don’t edit much at all but sometimes things get tweaked, often though they are left alone. I’m grateful for the process as I think with imagery just letting it come when it’s ready seems to be working. I trust it and know that any period of my life might be more prolific or not but I am very exuberant about other artists and enjoy watching movies, listening to music, etc. These are very nourishing activities to me and I don’t feel pressure to write every day or anything like that.
How did you get your name?
When I first started reading I was extremely shy and didn’t know if I’d be up to reading when my name was called so after Ellyn I put in parentheses (Maybe I’ll read…) and it stuck. I also like how the y in Ellyn goes with the y in Maybe but that just is pure serendipity! 🙂
What are you up to now?
I recently completed a poetry/music CD, Rodeo for the Sheepish. I have the most amazing collaborators, Harlan Steinberger and Tommy Jordan. The feedback for the album has been stellar. And we’re turning the CD into a movie, and hopefully a live show too.
If anyone out there has any ideas, as Tommy would say, we are delighted to hear them!
Thanks for your time, Ellyn.
Absolutely, my pleasure!