Thursday, October 8, 2009

Eileen Myles

I am a serial reader. I'm always reading like five books at a time -- and, unfortunately, I eventually only finish two or three of them. Anyway, right now I'm working on this book by Eileen Myles called "The Importance of Being Iceland: Travel Essays in Art". The title is a little misleading -- most of it is not really about Iceland at all but more about living and working as a lyric poet. A lot of it is also art criticism. I am nerdy in the way I love the challenge of reading an essay on something very visual before I can look at it -- I love to see how well I am able to make sense of what is being described in my imagination alone. A lot of the book is also about gender politics/feminism and ideology -- so be forewarned if you have no interest in these subjects.

It's hard to give a general overview of the book, because it's really a mix of essays, speeches, poems, and just generally interesting ideas Eileen has to share -- there is an excerpt from an interview with Daniel Day Lewis (which is awesome) and words from a commencement speech she made in 1998 titled "Universal Cycle" .... which is just beautiful ...

"I hope you all find yourself sleeping with someone you love, maybe not all of the time, but a lot of the time. The touch of a foot in the night is sincere. I hope you like your work, I hope there’s mystery and poetry in your life—not even poems, but patterns. I hope you can see them. Often these patterns will wake you up, and you will know that you are alive, again and again."

I am a hopeless heterosexual -- I love men -- but reading the above and this book makes me appreciate the universality/simplicity of love and the shared poetry of our human experiences.

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