The surrealist stylings of Ryan Wiles
To know a poet, know what informs their work. To know Ryan Wiles, that might take awhile. Wiles, a 24-year-old in the process of finishing up his first book of poetry, is a bit of a collector.
He collects experiences, he collects life, he collects knick-knacks. When he was 12 years old, Wiles collected used lottery tickets out of trash cans because he thought they looked cool and wound up winning a thousand dollars.
"I had a lot of weird hobbies," said Wiles. "(Concerning the tickets) I liked the colors, the variety. I collected business cards, buttons, all sorts of random things."
"The best inspiration, I guess, is frustration," said Wiles. "I haven't had the best luck with women." But he's smiling as he says it. Kris Kristofferson once wrote of Johnny Cash, "Partly truth, partly fiction, he's a walking contradiction." The same could be said of Wiles, who is at moments, overwhelmingly intense, then surprisingly mellow. "That's priceless inspiration," continues Wiles. "The things that drive you mad; that's where most of it comes from."
Wiles, who has been writing poetry since he was seven, has always had the poet bug.
"I had a few teachers that just encouraged me to write my stuff," said Wiles. "Everybody has a talent. Some are just more developed than others. This is one of mine; I've always been better at English (rather) than a Math kind of guy."
At twelve, he got a scholarship to take some summer classes from the Southern Oregon University creative writing program. He took radical writing and poetry and has stuck with it ever since, also winning the editor's choice award from poetry.com.
Wiles has been moving up the local poetry ranks lately, taking second the other month at the Mobius Poetry Slam and performing freestyle here and there. At present, he's finishing up work on his book, "Instantaneous Eternity."
"The idea is about time," said Wiles. "Measurements and such, how everything right up to this moment seems to have just flew by. But then are those moments that seem to last a lifetime. They are few and far-between. I was having one of those moments when I began writing this."
Right now, he's mainly focusing on the rewriting and polishing process, claiming to already have enough material to put out a second volume in short order.
"It's mostly for myself," says Wiles. "To get a finished collection of my art; to have it and say 'this is mine and I'm proud of it.'"
Wiles is the type is on constant input overload. Often he watches and rewatches surreal films over and over with sound off while blurring techno and having conversations. He is impressed by the emotive powers of sound transcending linguistics, which is why is favorite poem is Lewis Carroll's "The Jabberwocky," a work focusing upon the sheer impact of sound over narrative. "I'm interesting in conveying a feeling," said Wiles. "The reader may interrupt their own meaning too. It's like a diary but people get their own stuff too; maybe, 'oh, you must be talking about losing a loved one to another loved one,' or something, whether it's about that or not."
As Wiles keeps living, loving and writing about it all, the ever friendly Ashland hipster has firmly come to one conclusion. "The human mind can come up with things that the brain can not contemplate, calculate conceive of or comprehend."