collage of pipe, art, stone church and PS Lounge

Wayne Miller on Don Quixote, Albanian pipes, and more

September 4, 2019

Poet, editor, and professor of creative writing, Wayne Miller shared his list of five things he loves. They all relate to writing and teaching—even if the connection may not seem obvious at first glance.

drawing of Don Quixote

1. A pencil drawing of Don Quixote

Depicting Don Quixote on his horse, the drawing has written at the bottom, “I know who I am, and who I might be if I choose.” Miller explains, “When class was over the student—who was fairly quiet, not a student I knew particularly well—walked up and just handed it to me as he was leaving.” The drawing hangs above Miller’s desk. He loves it.

Albanian pipe

2. A “traditional” Albanian pipe

Moikom Zeqo, the Albanian poet that Miller co-translates, gifted Miller the pipe when he came to read from his first translated U.S. book, I Don’t Believe in Ghosts. It’s quite possible that the pipe came from an airport gift shop—but Miller doesn’t care. It did come all the way from Albania.

3. Framed Covers of Copper Nickel

Since joining the faculty and serving as Editor for the literary magazine Copper Nickel, Miller has collaborated with Art History professor Maria Buszek and Museum of Contemporary Art director Adam Lerner. Together, they find artists at various stages of their careers to provide artwork for the magazine’s covers. The collaboration is a smart approach that’s resulted in diverse art.

Emmanuel Gallery, a late nineteenth-century stone church in Denver located on Auraria Campus in downtown Denver

4. Emmanuel Gallery

Miller loves the building and its current incarnation as an art gallery. He also loves its history: built in 1876, it is Denver’s oldest standing church structure. It started as an Episcopal church, became a Jewish synagogue, and later served as an artist’s studio. Located in the middle of the Auraria Campus, Emmanuel Gallery is a place Miller likes to visit during lunch “just to take a break.”

PS Lounge

5. PS Lounge

PS Lounge on Colfax is the perfect dive bar to take visiting writers. Dark and full of knickknacks, this local institution offers free roses to patrons. Three different local writers took Miller to PS Lounge when he first moved to Denver. Now that he’s settled in, Miller often takes writer friends there when they come through Denver.

portrait of Professor Wayne Miller
Poet Wayne Miller’s latest book is Post-.

Associate Professor Wayne Miller holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Houston and a BA in History and Creative Writing from Oberlin College. He is currently Creative Writing Program Director at CU Denver and Editor of Copper Nickel.