“People read in bed for a reason. Nobody needs to be so damn awake. Sleep and Poetry. It’s what Keats meant.” Eileen Myles, Inferno, p. 198
Last week, loving Sharnish Parsipur’s Women Without Men. The women all come to a garden. One turns into a lotus flower and ascends.
This week loving Eileen Myles’s Inferno.
They have the same plot. Female spaces are created. Although Myles has the same plot as the Daniel Kane All Poets Welcome of a few weeks ago: poetry spaces are created. Although the Kane book keeps apologizing as it charts all the sexism of the scene.
Half way through Inferno, Bill steals my copy and removes all my dog ears. We are going to LA for the weekend. He has nothing to read. I say, as we walk out the door, take this; I am loving it. I have something I have to read for class. What is it? The Daniel Kane? In the Myles book, I have dog ears as notes. For some reason he cannot stand them and quickly removes them all. I had Schuyler poems to reread marked. I had other things to look up. I can’t find them now. This is feeling like a loss. I am in the airport, I take the book on next plane trip, attempting to find them. Looking for the evidence of the bent pages.
Inferno is messy and it makes me so happy when reading it. So many times in the last few weeks I have mentioned it when I am talking about the emotional minefields of psychosocialsexual poetry scenes with others. The moment when Eileen Myles says… Or the way she describes… I say both her names when I do this. As if they had some obvious rhythmic pattern.
She makes the blunder heroic. I feel as if all the stupid things I’ve done and said can be made into heroic narratives also, if I just imitate.
I get MFA’d out. I confess. I don’t hate the MFA. I see it mainly as under-realized, under-theorized. But still I get MFA’d out. By saying that I don’t mean that I get tired of the individuals in an MFA. Tired of myself maybe. But the others in it remain thinking humans and I like them in the same amounts I like all thinking humans. Maybe a little more. They at least have all been willing to think about poetry for two years. And that seems important. It is all the things round about the MFA that make me MFA’d out. The stuff that comes out of it. The endless wrestlings. The claimings. Something about the easy dismissal of the MFA. How it doesn’t take itself seriously and as a result, all that has come out of the MFA goes down a path that ends up at snarky. And snarky is that one jolt of superiority and then the crash. It is like bad candy. And in that, Inferno feels as if it reminds me what both wears me down about what is sometimes called community arts formations and what is worth being worn down for. Eileen Myles took speed and danced around funny at a party a whole lot once. Thank you Eileen Myles for funny dance on speed.
“It was a thing--an earnest and important thing to sit in the workshops at the church, or to go to the homes of the people who filled it with light--to be their friend.” p. 289