You foolish men who lay the guilt on women, not seeing you're the cause of the very thing you blame; if you invite their disdain with measureless desire why wish they well behave if you incite to ill. You fight their stubbornness, then, weightily, you say it was their lightness when it was
poems & poets
because you’re psychic
no one else could understand me
the way you
I say it to you silently
but it calls forth in me
the water for you
the water you asked for
Eileen Myles moved from Boston to New York City to become a poet in 1974. Since then, she has established herself as an important and quintessentially New York voice in the landscape of contemporary American poetry—from her involvement with the St. Mark’s Poetry Project, where she served as artistic director from 1984 to 1986; to her championing small presses and mentoring younger poets; to her presence as an active participant in queer culture. Myles has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, among other honors. In September 2015 Ecco published I Must Be Living Twice: New and Selected Poems 1975–2014, an impressive career retrospective for a poet whose work continues to surprise and interest her readers. In this conversation, Myles and poet Solmaz Sharif—whose debut collection, LOOK, will be published by Graywolf Press in July 2016—discuss their poetic beginnings and how they approach their craft. In her forthcoming
I write because I would like to live forever. The fact of my future death offends me. Part of this derives from my sense of my own insignificance in the universe. My life and death are a barely momentary flicker. I would like to become more than that. That the people and things I love will die wounds me as well. I seek to immortalize the world I have found and made for myself, even knowing that I won't be there to witness that immortality, mine or my work's, that by definition I will never know whether my endeavor has been successful. But when has impossibility ever deterred anyone from a cherished goal? As the brilliant poet and teacher Alvin Feinman once said to me, "Poetry is always close kin to the impossible, isn't it?"
My aim is to rescue some portion of the drowned and drowning, including always myself. For a long time my poetry emerged from and was fueled by an impulse to rescue my mother from her own death and from the wreckage of her life, out of which I
The word “gimmick” has derogatory connotations. It often suggests something cheap, tricky, fast, without substance, even immoral. There are intelligent people who attack the use of gimmicks or devices in teaching imaginative writing, on the grounds that such devices encourage kids to be thoughtless smart alecks, witty at the expense of substance, satisfied with a glib surface but insensitive to depth of feeling. Such critics usually emphasize the importance of meaning.
Were there a School of Gimmicks, its members might retort that the Defenders of Meaningfulness tend to be boring creeps who confuse self-expression with value, that the most sincere statement of feeling is no better than any other sincere statement, that what makes the difference in creative expression is style. In other words, concern yourself with style, and everything else will take care of itself.
These are two extreme points of view, of course. They sound like rehashings of the old conflict between