Eileen Myles on Reading Out Loud


Inside the Issue

From the cover of I Must Be Living Twice. Photo: Catherine Opie

“The most exciting thing is to read a poem out loud for the first time,” Eileen Myles tells Ben Lerner in our new Fall issue:

There’s a whole kind of inside thing bursting out, and I’m always dying to hear it. I do hear it in my head, but I never read it out loud to myself until I’m in front of people … What is so great—I’ll even say holy—about reading a poem for the first time in front of people is that you’re sharing what you felt in the moment of composition, when you were allowing something. When I’m writing the poem, I feel like I have to close my eyes. I don’t mean literally, but you invite a kind of blindness and that’s the birth of the poem. Writing is all performance. Something’s passing through … The performance is us writing what’s using us, remarking upon it.

(Subscribe now to read the whole Art of Poetry interview.) 

Tomorrow—Wednesday, October 7—Myles brings that spirit of performance to St. Marks Church, where she’ll read to celebrate the launch of I Must Be Living Twice: New and Selected Poems 1975–2014 and the reissue of her novel Chelsea Girls. She’ll be joined by Ben Lerner and a daunting number of other artists, poets, and writers: Sam Ace, Jen Benka, Charles Bernstein, Stephen Boyer, Alexander Chee, Cathy de la Cruz, r. erica doyle, Megan Fernandes, Adam Fitzgerald, Emily Gould, Patricia Spears Jones, erica kaufman, Porochista Khakpour, Nate Lippens, Elinor Nauen, Trace Peterson, Ariana Reines, Jill Soloway, Stacy Szymaszek, Anne Waldman, Joe Westmoreland, and Simone White. Emcees: Nicole J. Georges, K8 Hardy, and Morgan Parker.

The event begins at eight P.M.—see you there!


Our Fall issue, on newsstands now.