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Orpheus by Miles Hewitt

April 24, 2013 ET

By Eleanor Greene
Intern, IMLS

April is National Poetry Month, and IMLS salutes the country’s first National Student Poets. IMLS and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) partnered with the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers to create the National Student Poets Program, which bestows the nation’s highest honor for youth poets whose original work exhibits exceptional creativity, dedication to craft, and promise. This month, we will feature the writings of each of the five National Student Poets. Each student poet represents the region they live in. Today’s featured poet represents the West.

Today, we introduce you to Miles Hewitt of Vancouver, Wash., whose love of poetry is nearly matched by his great interest in songwriting and music. He finds inspiration in a variety of writers, from James Joyce to Alan Ginsberg to Bob Dylan. As passionate as he is about music, he prefers to see poetry written rather than spoken aloud, because it allows the readers to appreciate punctuation and visual form.

Miles was a special guest reader at the Idaho Commission on the Arts “Coasts of Idaho” reading on April 6. On April 20 and 22 he facilitated an At Home at School poetry workshop at Washington State University in Vancouver. The participants in the workshop presented their work at Miles’s high school, the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics. Below is Miles Hewitt’s “Orpheus.”

Orpheus

& in between passionless crimes—
(so for the lack of humanity,
the careless abandon
and the forgoing of burden)
I looked into your eyes & thought

I AM ORPHEUS

& you smiled
& asked me
what I was thinking about

I brushed you away
off the bed
pushed you over the nightstand as
the lamp with wavy grasping shade reached
& the globe on the shelf & the maps
on the walls slipped & sighed
& you collapsed on the ground—

‘I don’t know’—

but I wasn’t lying.