Eileen Myles at the Bluecoat

3rd November 2014 at 10:13

I had the pleasure of being one of the lucky few who were able to attend the Liverpool Biennial Trip with the Live at LICA team on October 21st 2014. The whole day was fantastic, and culminated with a Discussion Event at the Bluecoat with writer Eileen Myles.

Myles, who currently resides in New York, is a highly acclaimed poet and writer. Her most recent publication “Snow Flake/Different Streets” (2012) is in effect two books in one. The reader is invited to flip the book in order to read the second series of poems. It was, however, Myles’ contribution to “A Needle Walks into the Haystack”, the official Biennial publication, which she shared at the reading. ‘Twice’ is an essay; exploring her views on writing, its purpose and the author’s process. It included two of her past poems, (hence the title ‘Twice’,) and is highly autobiographical.

Her writing can, on first impression, seem like an ungrounded flow of thoughts, opinions and events that jump haphazardly through the work. You feel as though you have been welcomed into Myles’ mind and are following the tangents in her head and she mulls on past experiences and poems.

It is only on reflection that you appreciate the intelligent way Myles has, by sharing experience, welcomed you to see as she does. Her truths are not hidden or secretive, but laid out plainly, without any sense of coercion or manipulation. I found having so many private thoughts and experiences shared in a public environment very discomforting. Yet Myles seems at ease; they are her truths, she owns them, and there is no shame in that.

Having never before visited a reading, I have to say I loved the experience. To hear a piece of writing read aloud, from the authors own mouth is rather sublime. You cannot get a truer reading. With Myles casually slouched against the lectern, sharing private details of her romantic rendezvous, the essay is given a power that it would otherwise lack. The narrative voice is no longer just in your head, but real and tangible.


Jess Horton, Fine Art Student