Guest Feature – M S Evans

My guest today comes all the way from Montana. It is with delight that I introduce M S Evans to Patricia’s Pen to blog about inspiration. Without further ado, it’s over to M S Evans.

Inspiration in Writing

M S Evans

Most of my inspiration seems to come when I’m out walking. Something about movement makes connections in my mind. My inspiration could be a phrase, an observation of color, relationships, an emotion. I carry those impressions with me until I can write them down. Once I do, I usually leave them for a while.

Writing and editing a poem can take me weeks, sometimes months. Once I think I have a complete poem, I let it sit again. I find the process of having refined it also refines me, and sometimes it’s necessary to allow myself time to catch up, so I can view the poem with new eyes.

Nights on the Line

In my collection Nights on the Line, I touch on many aspects of my life, from growing up in the Pacific Northwest, to travelling, activism, lineage, and motherhood.

My pieces on lineage and motherhood explore the long-term effect of immigration on my family: what was lost when we left our communities? Could it ever be replaced? And what am I able to pass down as a mother?

There’s an algebra I’m aware of: missing patterns, lost rhythms of connectivity and tradition. I suppose poetry is my way of trying to give shape and sound to these. Among the pieces in the book that touch on this theme are: Llennyrch, and Polish Mother Bones.

Travelling and activism were a part of my life in my teens and early twenties. There was a thriving activist scene then in the Northwest, centered on grassroot social justice and environmental campaigns. That community was the inheritor of an American traveler tradition of train hopping, itinerant work, and radical history. Besides technical knowledge – where and how to hop a train – there was an intrinsic code of ethics. You had to prove your worth before someone would chance taking you on the road with them. An untrustworthy person could get you hurt or killed. Integrity and a degree of toughness were prerequisites.  

In one poem, Crew Change, I talk about the care one takes in keeping vulnerable friends safe. In another, Straight-Track Jack, I recall a friend’s uncanny connection with trains, and highlight the humor which made hard times easier. 

About M S Evans

M.S. Evans is a Pushcart nominated poet, and visual artist. Originally from Seattle, she currently lives in Butte, Montana. Her work has appeared in Ice Floe Press, Green Ink Poetry, Feral and Anti-Heroin Chic, among others. Her collection, Nights on the Line was released October 31st, 2022, by Black Bough Poetry.

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