Skies were clear as on Tuesday, Tyler Mills, a 2019 Jim and Linda Burke Visiting Scholar, shared her newest poetry compilation “Hawk Parable” with Stillwater residents and OSU students alike. Arranged safely within Bennett Memorial Chapel, she read off her works, revealing prize pieces like “Nagasaki.”
Mills has been all over the United States; from Chicago to Maryland to New Mexico, she’s garnered inspiration and motivation from her travels all over.
“I was living in New Mexico… New Mexico factors into my research,” Mills said. “I really thought it would be inspiring to work with the arts center there and the students, and that’s why I applied [for the Jim and Linda Burke Scholarship] and I was really grateful to be accepted.”
Mills’ collection “Tongue Lyre” was the winner of the 2011 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. She has been writing poetry pieces since and just finished her third collection, which is now in the revising stage.
“I just finished my third book of poems and I’m now in the stage of revising it,” Mills said. “Is it really done, or do I need to sit with it longer? I’m also working on an essay manuscript as well.”
Mills has been pursuing writing for years; she concurs there is an importance to be placed on young people soaking in the arts and sinking into emotion.
“I remember when I was an undergraduate student, hearing writers come to my campus showed me that I could be a writer myself,” Mills said. “It gave me confidence that this was something I could do, that I could publish my poems and that I could write my essays, and that I could pursue graduate work and take more workshops and get my writing out into the world.”
“Hawk Parable” deals with heavy topics of the environmental crisis in relation to the atomic bomb flurry following World War II. It intertwines Mills’ personal family life with historical records.
“I would say the poem ‘Nagasaki’ that I read this evening it was my first publication and it was really meaningful to me,” Mills said.“It was a poem that my grandfather actually read and that he was proud of before he died and it meant a lot to him. It was a hard poem to write. And I view that as a very important poem to the book and to me, too.”
‘Nagasaki’ can be found in “Hawk Parables” which is available at most bookstore retailers across the USA.
As Mills continues to share her stories with the world, she also wants to also show students what can be possible for them.
“For me, I remember that time as being really inspiring and opening my eyes to the larger world,” Mills said. “When I think about students, I think it’s helpful to them to see the options open to them and the paths available and to help them open up their creativity and think about what they may like to pursue.”