Phoenix Poet Myrlin Hepworth on the Art of Teaching

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Every other year, New Times puts the spotlight on Phoenix's creative forces — painters, dancers, designers, and actors. Leading up to the release of Best of Phoenix, we're taking a closer look at 100 more. Welcome to the 2016 edition of 100 Creatives. Up today is 59. Myrlin Hepworth.

Myrlin Hepworth knew he would do three things with his life: create, perform, and teach. 

"I did that enough and well enough to develop a full-time career that has lasted eight whole years," the 29-year-old Phoenix poet says. "My last day job was at a preschool in 2008."

Hepworth says it's "the art of teaching, the art of watching others live" that fuels his creative output and has been most influential on his life. That work includes writing, performing around the country, competing (he's been on three National Poetry Slam teams), and teaching both literary and hip-hop arts to high schoolers through Phonetic Spit, which he co-founded with Tomas Stanton in 2011.

Not only is Hepworth passionate about teaching, but the artist is also eager to learn. His recent foray into beat-making, for instance, shows a willingness to push himself outside his comfort zone. And in a big way, too. He raised thousands through Kickstarter to fund his album, Eulogy in Blue, that he's touring on with Phoenix-based rapper Mic Maven this summer.

The work doesn't end, but no matter. "There is no average day," Hepworth says. "I've been on over 30 airplanes and worked in several states arleady this year. It's always a struggle to do the things listed above, a beautiful often exhausting one."

I came to Phoenix with dreams and ink on my fingertips

I make art because creating is the source energy of the universe.

I'm most productive when I'm around people who challenge and contribute to the narrative.

I don't have a wall, more like a room of art and pictures of family and some thank-you letters from young people across the country.

I've learned most from listening.

Good work should always be commissioned or be intended or created to exist primarily for the disenfranchised.

The Phoenix creative scene could use more collaboration.

The 2016 Creatives so far:

100. Nicole Olson
99. Andrew Pielage
98. Jessica Rowe
97. Danny Neumann
96. Beth Cato
95. Jessie Balli
94. Ron May
93. Leonor Aispuro
92. Sarah Waite
91. Christina "Xappa" Franco
90. Christian Adame
89. Tara Sharpe
88. Patricia Sannit
87. Brian Klein
86. Dennita Sewell
85. Garth Johnson
84. Charissa Lucille
83. Ryan Downey
82. Samantha Thompson
81. Cherie Buck-Hutchison
80. Freddie Paull
79. Jennifer Campbell
78. Dwayne Hartford
77. Shaliyah Ben
76. Kym Ventola
75. Matthew Watkins
74. Tom Budzak
73. Rachel Egboro
72. Rosemary Close
71. Ally Haynes-Hamblen
70. Alex Ozers
69. Fawn DeViney
68. Laura Dragon
67. Stephanie Neiheisel
66. Michael Lanier
65. Jessica Rajko
64. Velma Kee Craig
63. Oliver Hibert
62. Joya Scott
61. Raji Ganesan
60. Ashlee Molina

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