“The city is language. There is so much more punctuation here. There are so many conversations. There are so many interventions. There are so many overheard things... There’s just so much collision. And I think that’s how I learned to write.
“A poem is just a list. It’s just an exploration of the filing system of your brain, as it moves through space and time. There’s plenty of holes for you to think about other things. Write a line or two and stop. Just really be trusting the mechanism of desire.
“An image I’ve been obsessed with lately is, when you’re in a pool, and there’s a blow-up raft, and when you give it a shove— just a tiny shove—and then you watch it move across the entire pool, like magic. And I like that being the level of craft that I put into a poem. Just a tiny shove, and then see what it does. You can tell when a poem is finished when it stops moving.”
About the Artist
Eileen Myles (they/them), a member of the Academy, is a poet and writer. They have published twenty volumes of poetry and fiction including Not Me (1991), Chelsea Girls (1994), Cool for You (2000), and Skies (2001). Recent books include Sorry, Tree (2007), The Importance of Being Iceland: Travel Essays in Art (2009), and Inferno: A Poet's Novel (2010), I Must Be Living Twice: New and Selected Poems 1975-2014 (2015), Afterglow: A Dog Memoir (2017), and evolution (2018).
Video courtesy of NOWNESS.
Commission on the Arts
The Commission - drawing on the expertise of its members who are artists, scholars, activists, and leaders, as well as the input of people across the country who participated in listening sessions - dedicated itself to recognizing and supporting the essential role of the arts and artists in American life.