20. Emma Trelles

In honor of our Artopia party on February 10, Cultist proudly presents "100 Creatives," where we feature Miami's cultural superheroes in random order. Have suggestions for future profiles? Email [email protected] with the whos and whys.

20. Emma Trelles

Emma Trelles is a kick-ass rock-star Miami poet. Her words ooze feeling; her sentences reflect the condition of being alive. Whitman once said all beauty comes from beautiful blood and a beautiful brain. Emma Trelles has both. A product of FIU's top-ranked Creative Writing program, Emma has been on the beat for years.

Whether working as a staff writer for our sister paper the Broward New Times or as the

Sun-Sentinel's art critic, or as a regular contributor to the Best

American Poetry blog,

this girl can wrangle herself up some words. Twice nominated for the

Pushcart Prize, look out for her next book of poems Tropicalia,

forthcoming in February from the University of Notre Dame Press.


you're lucky, you might catch Emma teaching a class at the Florida

Center for the Literary Arts. If you're smart, pick up her books. Her

last collection Little Spells

is both poignant and completely relative to living in our Magic City.

Her poem "Churchill's Hideaway" (about the Little Haiti bar) captures a

feeling many of us may have shared:

We love it here, and peel the losses from our skins
like failed saints, our good eyes veiled
when we leave. Let us linger in this dusted lot

until the lights go out and the street men
nestle in shadow, ready for sleep and a day meant
for more than forgetting. I have often knitted

my own amnesia here, stood outside plotting
second chances and success, wondered if the oiled
likeness mantling the doorway really is Churchill, eyes
lizard-curious, teeth brown-ridged and biting.       

 1. List five things that inspire you.

-My husband, Mark. He's a musician, a songwriter, and a bookseller, so he has his own way with words that I find delightful and nourishing.

-Books. I just finished John Waters' Role Models, Maria Melendez's poetry collection, Flexible Bones, and Just Kids, a memoir by Patti Smith. All three made me want to sit down and write, start lists of cool words, take pictures, knit. Great books push me to make something.

-Paintings such as "Harmony in Blue and Silver," by Whistler, Frida Kahlo's "The Two Fridas," Henri Rousseau's twilight visions of wild beasts, Turner's light-washed landscapes, the photographs of Diane Arbus and Ana Mendieta, the mystic sculpture and canvases of Edouard Duval-Carrie'. When it comes to art, I could go on for awhile.

-Live music, going to concerts and also local shows. There's nothing more absolving than standing in front of the stage while a band blasts the worry from your skull.

-Family, friends, everyday people--those who find a way to keep compassion in their hearts.
2. What was your last big project?

Finishing and submitting my book Tropicalia for publication. You'd think it's enough to actually write all those poems, but you also have to find them a home.

3. What's your next big project?

My next collection of poetry and a book of essays that fuses personal narrative with reportage, which I suppose means that I am or will be writing about travel, nature, bi-lingual oddities, music, and mortality--the usual suspects.

4. Why do you do what you do?

That answer changes over time. When a professor asked me that question in grad school, I think it was fiction writer extraordinaire John Dufresne, I recall my reply being something along the lines that what unfolded on the page was something I could control. Now I know better. If I'm just writing strictly from notes, I'm not making art; I'm typing. There's a certain degree of not knowing, of words arriving from the unseen ether, that gives writing its pulse. I've been writing seriously now for about 15 years, and I think at this point it's become who I am and not just what I do. Writing is more than a hobby or a job. It's a way at looking at the world.
5. What's something you want Miami to know about you?

I was born in Miami at Mercy Hospital. I've never lived more than 30 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean.

What's something you don't want Miami to know about you?
The only time I drive west of 95 is to see my mother.

The Creatives so far:

21. Pablo Cano
22. Natasha Tsakos
23. Freegums

24. Aurora Natrix
25. Gean Moreno
26. Yaddyra Peralta
27. Barron Sherer

28. Brigid Baker
29. Daniel Fila
30. McLaine Oberhellmann
31. Fro Rojas
32. Annie Hollingsworth
33. Preston Allen
34. Cristina Molina
35. David Josef Tamargo
36. Jillian Mayer

37. Alfonso Vega
38. Natasha Lopez de Victoria
39. Aholsniffsglue

40. Heather Maloney
41. Jorge Rubiera
42. Elaine Lancaster
43. Nick Duckart
44. Danielle Estefan
45. John Dufresne
46. Monica Lopez de Victoria
47. Bill Bilowit
48. Alette Simmons-Jimenez
49. Tawnie Silva
50. Ginger Bardot
51. Jonathan David Kane
52. Naomi Fisher
53. Rocky Grimes
54. Teresa Barcelo
55. Paul Tei
56. Lee Materazzi

57. Karla Garcia
58. Anna Mixon
59. Octavio Campos
60. P. Scott Cunningham
61. Elena Garcia
62. Summer Hill
63. Autumn Casey
64. Juan Navarro
65. Serge Toussaint
66. David Rohn
67. Diane Brache
68. Spencer Morin
69. James Anthony
70. Jim Drain
71. Claudia Calle
72. Kevin Arrow

73. Andrew Hevia
74. Ana Mendez
75. Michael McKeever
76. Diana Lozano
77. Ricardo Pau-Llosa
78. Agustina Woodgate
79. Tarell Alvin McCraney
80. Jennifer Kronenberg
81. Farley Aguilar
82. Colin Foord
83. Karelle Levy
84. Matt Gajewski
85. Antonia Wright
86. Allen Charles Klein
87. Christy Gast
88. Gustavo Matamoros
89. Shareen Rubiera-Sarwar

90. Kyle Trowbridge
91. Clifton Childree
92. Jessica Gross
93. Danny Brito
94. Nektar de Stagni
95. Anthony Spinello
96. Vanessa Garcia
97. Justin Long
98. Rosie Herrera
99. Rick Falcon

100. Ingrid B

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Contact: J.J. Colagrande