OFFICIAL BIO (3rd person)

Jesse Miksic is a graphic designer and writer living in Peekskill, New York. He spends his life writing poetry, nursing unfinished projects, and having adventures with his wonderful wife and daughter. Recent placements include Praxis Magazine Online, Sky Island Journal, Bodega Magazine, and Anti-Heroin Chic.

Find links to my online spaces, and all my published work, at http://www.miksimum.com/ (I keep the Publications page pretty up to date).

 

EXTENDED BIO (1st person)

I am a graphic designer, writer, and general obsessive creator of things, brought up and residing around the Northeast region(s) of the United States. I spent my teenage years as a young punk in Philly and its suburbs, and I relocated to Washington, DC for college (philosophy and graphic design). After college, I moved to New York City to attend a Media Studies MA program at the New School, and I got my first serious design job and met the woman who would become my wife.

I have always been a dilettante, and this was facilitated by the emergent digital culture of the 90's and 2000's. I wrote poems and stories, I published zines, and I took photographs and turned them into Flash animations. For several years after college, I made artsy short films, borrowing music from local NYC artists and working with a camera and whoever I could find on Craigs List. Those videos are still taking up space on Vimeo. Reach out for a link if you're digging around for something to gawk at.

In addition to being a punk, I have always been a proud nerd. My first fav's were Bilbo and Frodo, John Connor and the T-800, and Neo and Trinity. I surfed IRC channels, created Angelfire and Geocities websites, and cut my teeth on Street Fighter 2 in the boardwalk arcades. I still love media of all types with the enthusiasm of a culture cultist. The Emperor's New Groove, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Don't Look Now, House of Leaves, and Alan Moore's Watchmen are major personal milestones.

In 2011, I married the girl I'd been dating, who I met on OKCupid. In 2015, we had a daughter, who I (in typical Dad fashion) think is possibly the coolest person in the world. This is around when I moved out of New York City, which will forever remain the ravishing ghost in my rearview mirror.

In 2014 and 2015, I wrote the first draft of a fantasy novel with no kings, no chosen heroes, and no world-destroying arch-villains. I never got through the taxing editing/reworking process. Instead, I trailed off and rediscovered a love from high school: Poetry, the creative pursuit where I enjoyed the greatest freedom -- I could focus on concept or craft, I could express or experiment, I could finish things or even leave them ambivalently finished/unfinished, and they would always keep a certain glow of mystery, even to me. It's been fruitful, but more importantly, it's been personally satisfying -- it has truly added a new dimension to my life, and every day I'm excited to get back to it.

Several things haven't made it into this bio -- a whole raft of chronic medical issues that are central to my life, but I kind of exclude from my public persona (diabetes, heart and kidney disease, etc). Also, my other ongoing hobbies: drawing, photography, and writing long-winded critical essays on niche cultural products (i.e. certain movies and video games). Some things float to the top and some sink to the bottom; se la vie. Regardless, I hope you've enjoyed this snapshot of my remarkable and boring life. I had fun writing it!

 

POETIC STATEMENT

I write poetry as a way to approach the ambiguity of the world, by holding a dialog with parts of myself that are outside my field of vision. I write because I don't trust my intellect with the complex project of self-knowledge -- insight happens at the slippery surface where inner life meets world, and it's only in the many dimensions of poetry that I can be sensitive to that surface. I write because I am fascinated by the person who emerges in those words, and poetry is one of the only forums where they speak to me.

I would like poetry to be a craft for me, though I have an unhealthy fascination with elite artistic aspirations (the avante-garde, postmodernism, blah blah blah). I would like to create poems as small precise artifacts, forged and finalized by long practice and intuition, drawn from a secondary/subliminal intentionality, and always perfect, but only according to their own small logics. I don't want to care how many people follow me, or how well I do in the publication hustle, though I'm at the mercy of vanity, as, I think, we all are. Sooo... of course I want to be perceived and validated. But at the root, my purest desire is for a few poems to get an honest chance to live outside my head... not an audience, ultimately. Just a hearing is enough.

 

FACTS

Jesse lives in the Hudson Valley, a lush stretch of luminous landscapes and picturesque towns along the Hudson River.

Jack Kerouac on the Hudson Valley: "If you drop a rose in the Hudson River at its mysterious source in the Adirondacks, think of all the places it journeys by as it goes out to sea forever - think of that wonderful Hudson Valley. I started hitchiking up the thing." (On the Road: Chapter 2)

Jesse thought season 1 of True Detective was trying a little hard, and season 2 generally lost the plot, but he thinks season 3 is some of the best TV of the decade.

Some of Jesse's favorite words -- "Potence," "Demeanor," "Torpor" -- he first discovered as a teenager, reading the gaming manuals for Vampire: The Masquerade.

Jesse writes all his poems by hand in notebooks, in batches of 50-80 poems, and then transcribes the whole batch to prepare for editing. Each batch yields a handful that he deems submittable.

Jesse once took a poetry class under Cornelius Eady.

Jesse once published an essay on the movie "Return to Oz," which was noticed by Walter Murch, the director (and one of the great film editors of contemporary cinema). Jesse got to go to meet Walter at his editing suite, which was a great privilege.

Jesse has run a blog of media commentary since 2006. It's pretty much become a big empty house now, though it has a pretty solid archive of his media and pop culture writing over the years. It's called Benefit of the Doubt -- benefitofthedoubt.miksimum.com

Jesse's favorite Studio Ghibli movies are Ponyo and Princess Mononoke.

The first poem that Jesse fell in love with was e. e. cummings' Since Feeling Is First -- he will always remember those last lines: "For life is not a paragraph / and death, I think, is no parentheses"

Jesse really likes Adidas sneakers (Samba/Samoa/etc, the stripey indoor-soccer kind). He is a little self-conscious about this, knowing it's left over from his punk/skater days -- maybe he's supposed to be wearing trainers or loafers or something now? -- but he just can't quit the flat-soled street shoe thing.

Jesse's recent visual art has been a series of drawings, alternating with a series of (unrelated) photographs, which can be seen on his Twitter feed or his Instagram feed (@miksimum for both).

Ska music has a special place in Jesse's heart. He's an avid fan of the RX Bandits (@RXBandits) and Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra (@tokyoskaj). He likes to listen to the Aquabats (@TheAquabats) with his daughter.

Jesse recently read the book "Send Bygraves," an extended murder mystery poem by Martha Grimes, and it was was one of his absolute favorite literary discoveries. He found it in the dollar bin of a used bookstore. On that note, he writes rather long Goodreads reviews... if you're interested in those, check out his Goodreads Reviews page: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/4004007-jesse?shelf=read&sort=date_read

Jesse is actually straight edge, though he's not a crusader about it. He doesn't drink alcohol, smoke, or even drink coffee. It's just a taste thing, really. He has a weakness for soda.

Jesse loves the black licorice and the popcorn-flavored jelly beans.

Jesse won a beard-growing contest in the mid-2000's, and he's never shaved it completely off (keeps it cleaned up though).

Jesse rarely goes to bed before 2 AM. 4 or 5 AM is fairly common. He probably gets about 4.5 hours of sleep on average. Jesse LOVES late nights -- the solitude, the enigmatic nakedness of the world. When COVID is over, one of the first things he will do is go out and write all night at a diner.

Jesse is one of those people who can't really handle horror movies (except the trippy cerebral kind), but reads their Wikipedia summaries with a masochistic hunger.

Marshall McLuhan, the late 20th century media theorist, is one of Jesse's personal fav's -- a writer whose ideas are loose and fluid almost to the point of incoherence. It aspires to a kind of poetry, though it can frustrate the hell out of academics.

Seeing Jesse get terrorized by a cockroach is a comical and pathetic sight.

 

POEMS

The first poem I had published, in Right Hand Pointing issue 116 (http://righthandpointing.net/)

My first year of publication, I was honored to be nominated for a Pushcart by West Texas Review, who published my poem "Domovoi"

One of my early accomplishments was acceptance into American Journal of Poetry (http://theamericanjournalofpoetry.com/v5-miksic.html) after several rounds of rejection. It's still one of my favorite poems I've had published.

Liminality (http://www.liminalitypoetry.com/) published my poem "Take Good Care of the Car Please" in issue 18 (Winter 2019). It's one of the most personal poems I've published -- it comes directly from the part of me that loves late nights and aimless wanderings and writing poetry.

 

Heron Tree (https://herontree.com/) published my poem "A Crossing of Lines" in March 2019, and it remains one of the more sparse, experimental poems I've had published. It's about the local park in my town on a foggy, desolate morning walk.

Finally, a poem I never expected to appear in a public forum -- but that was accepted by Leveler (http://www.levelerpoetry.com/), an amazing poetry publication that provides a close reading of each poem published. Their work in untangling the innerworkings of "To Lydian" was miraculous -- they brought clarity to something that was thick and enigmatic, even to me (it helped that they were dead on about my historical reference).

 

IMAGES

All images are very large, just save them or right-click to see full resolution.

I don't have much of an office space -- I do most of my writing and reading in the living room, which results in a constant battle between diligence and sleepiness.

Me and my kid when she was still tiny

4 years of full notebooks (gonna finish my current one before 2021)

Bear Mountain State Park, a place I feel very endeared to, and a landscape typical of the Hudson Valley

Me in the woods, trying to find the good light

Midtown Manhattan -- though I'm barely an occasional visitor at this point, I am a city mouse, and I still feel rooted in NYC. My heart will always beat in subway time.