Posted on April 6th, 2012 by robert. Filed under Live.

Q: Poets are thought of as very flowy and peaceful and . . . I don’t know, dressed in linen all the time. How would you say this stacks up to your own personal flowy, linen-wearing peacefulness?

Eileen Myles: I think we take the hit for language in any era. To decide to do “this” as a living is to invite barbs that generally pile up around gender and power. The poet is a fag, the poet is a drag, the poet is righteous. But really I think people resent our freedom. Our choice to keep doing something they may have done badly when they were younger and were full of feeling and to keep doing something that supposedly anyone can do – making something out of something as practical and mundane as language is to brand oneself as a lifelong fool rather than merely a fool in her youth. People feel sad about what they disavowed to become who they are now. Poets are human of course and have disavowed plenty, but to stand behind this nonetheless significant or foolish act – it’s a kind of self identifying, self categorizing act (like language itself) that enrages people exactly in the place where they’ve made choices and need to assume you haven’t. This – to be a poet – was the biggest choice in my life, and I suffer fools gladly and have a great life. Look at this. I just wrote a book called snowflake, for god’s sake.

( . . . via the Hairpin . . . )


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