Sunday, February 20, 2011

My Intro For Eileen Myles

This was written with the help of several posters on FB, who gave me some concrete reasons as to why they love Eileen Myles. Of course, the intro is filled with my own reasons. But the writing process was, for a few hours, a collective one. The introduction was for a reading Eileen gave on February 8, 2011 at Duke University. Thanks to all of you who sent "love" in for Eileen:

This week on Valentine’s Day the online magazine “The Awl” published an article by Eileen Myles called “Being Female.” In the article Eileen discusses the recent Vida pie charts that showed how low the numbers of female writers getting reviewed in the mainstream press are, a sad and discouraging fact for all vaginally equipped scribes. Eileen’s article opens with a description of one of her own personal rituals to overcome the self-doubt that is a natural part of being a female writer in this world. She writes, “When I think about being female I think about being loved. What I mean by that: I have a little exercise I do when I present my work or speak publicly or even write…In order to build up my courage I try to imagine myself deeply loved.” She goes on to say that when she finds herself wondering how certain men she admires are able to live so boldly (she uses the life of Passolini as an example) she sees it as a result of such love. She writes, “A mother loves her son. And so does a country. And that is much to count on. So I try to conjure that for myself particularly when I’m writing or saying something that seems both vulnerable and important so I don’t have to be defending myself so hard. I try and act like its mine. The culture. That I’m its beloved son.”

So I thought that since Eileen is a beloved guest in our house tonight, that I would do the job for her. That I would now speak in the name and words of many of our nation’s poets, all of our nation’s Polish mothers and in the name of the American nation itself to let Eileen know just how and why she is our beloved son and our beloved uncle. Eileen, We, the poets of America, the Polish Mothers of America and the United States of America love you! We love you for your honesty and your courage, your ability, despite “the blues and the greys and the feelings of lostness” “to be inexcusably addicted to light” in your work and in your life. We love you because your like poetry's very own Kennedy, only unafraid of eros. we love to hear her say the words "dark red hair. We love you because you wear cool boots, because you wear your charisma and poetic authority lightly and with good humor. We love you because you’re part of this NY downtown art and poetry scene that is still so alive and real and searching and open. We love you for the surprise in the line: "But he always needed to go out and stay out for long stretches and freely kill other creatures." We love your Rhythm: the living scansion of thought and line in a performative drive. We love you for taking everything that's brilliant, edgy and humane in the New York School, throwing out the dross, adding the special kinds of aliveness, that are only yours to add, we love you for making quite a lot of sense in sound, for telling the right people to fuck off, and telling so many girls, girlish boys, and boyish girls they were “right on” when the rest of the world was telling them they were all wrong, we love you for having enough guts to open up the kitchen cabinets and let in negative capability, we love you for not believing that poets are contaminated by writing novels. We love you for being pretty much totally hot. We try not to drool when standing close to you. We think it’s awesome when you order clams during job interviews. We love you for running for President, but are glad that you didn’t win because we’re pretty sure the bankers would have had you shot and no one really needs to be that much like a Kennedy anyhow, and besides I think you look more like Warren Beatty. Eileen, we are so cool for you, we can hardly stand it. We might have to make a 51st state just to hold our love for you, We love you in all your freedoms, short lines, long paragraphs, Eileen, our own dear queer defender of American forms, how could we have imagined ourselves without you?