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Eileen Myles is optimistic about the state of poetry today


In an interview with Alexander Chee for the LA Times, Eileen Myles, who’s been receiving heaps of well-deserved accolades lately, says that US poetry today is as lively and radical as it’s been in a long time. This has a lot to do, she says, with the proliferation of poetry by writers who aren’t stodgy white men:

You tour a lot. What is it like to be on tour this time, with your retrospective?

I think there’s a very interesting poetry moment going on culturally now. Part of what I’m experiencing with this nice reception of this book is the way being a female poet is a certain version of coming of age — poetry is very diaristic, small pieces, an art form you can realize — you wrote poems when you were young — a quick, young, cheap available art form.

I’m getting a sense, because I’m meeting so many young people on this tour and a lot of them are writing poetry and a lot of them are female, and so there’s a way I feel there’ s a revolution going on, like the road saga of the 50s and 60s for boys might be writing poetry for females right now. And I just love how poetry seems to be totally … the notebook is open — girls, and girlboys, young people and older people and all kinds of people are writing in it. Something special, mortal, cheap and fun, a new way of being smart and fast — it coincides with texting, and social media — it’s a leaky, glittering sort of form. I think it’s really hot right now. I feel like that’s what I’m witnessing right now. And it makes me really happy.

Image of Eileen Myles via Penn Sound.