Sunday, 7 June 2015

Eileen Myles

The New York Times once called Eileen Myles “a cult figure to a generation of post-punk female writer-performers”. What I can say, she is an amazing poet and I am a huge fan.

Myles joined the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s in New York City in the 1970s after leaving behind her native Boston. A few years later she was working as the assistant of James Schuyler – an influence which is still tangible in her work, as Hoover puts it:

 “Myler’s offhandedly personal and lyrical poetry has an affinity with the work of James Schuyler; this is most evident in her diaristic style of composition, narrative ease, and use of short, enjambed lines.”

Myles’ first major collection, Not Me, was published in 1991. Since then there have been many more, including more procedural work like her 2001 volume Skies, which set the constraint of including only poems which include the sky in some way.

Her versatile work of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction is really compelling and inspirational for any poet. The striking directness of her words and the way she works with the notion of autobiography really draws me in. I highly recommend having a look at her website which is full of poetry and also has a few videos of performances which are wonderful.

Links: (very short bio, but also a few poems)

My below response is a (for me rather unusual) attempt at something more personal and lyric. Have a read.

~ - ~

Memento mori

Somehow we ended up

in the cemetery,

like one would

I suppose,


on a hot spring day

on a walk

through the woods. At

the end of the trail

where I hesitated

like Dante in a summer dress, you

followed me through

the gap in the cast

iron fence and trampled

shrubbery into

forgotten parts

of stone memory grounds. We

followed the lines

over May grass looking

down on distant

names on rain-washed

rock wondering. Daisy-

lined final resting place.

Memento mori, you said

and I reached for

your hand while we

were walking. I wanted

you more then, than

in the forest’s calm leafy

shade or on the bridge over

the brook’s gurgling waters. I

wanted you then, and when I

knew you were no longer

walking my way.

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