#AWP17 Featured Presenter Q&A with Eileen Myles
AWP | December 2016
Event Title: A Reading and Conversation with Eileen Myles, Alice Notley, and Sonia Sanchez. Sponsored by the Poetry Society of America
Description: Three acclaimed contemporary poets, all of whom have won the Poetry Society of America Shelley Memorial Award, will read from their work. The reading will be followed by a conversation moderated by PSA Executive Director Alice Quinn.
Participants: Eileen Myles, Alice Notley, Sonia Sanchez
Location: Ballroom A, Washington Convention Center, Level Three
Date & Time: Friday, February 10, 8:30–10:00 p.m.
Q: When AWP was found in 1967, there were a dozen creative writing programs; now there are approximately 1,800 undergraduate and graduate programs. What do you think has changed for readers and writers since creative writing became ascendant as an academic discipline?
A: There’s more of an idea that a writer needs an MFA or that writers’ lives occur mainly in the academy. It also provides more reading opportunities for writers so there’s some money to be made both as a reader and as a teacher. Mediocre writers are encouraged to spend money on education that won’t change things. On the other hand an MFA can hold a growing talent and support her growth so even an MFA program can be good for a new writer.
Q: What advice can you offer to writers who must navigate between the solitude of artistic work and our nation’s politics and culture at this moment?
A: Find what your appropriate mode of protest and resistance is. Talking across belief systems is important. To not only speak with those on our team. But meeting in great numbers and even writing for choral situations rather than solo voices is profound and valuable.
Q: What book or books that you’ve read over the last year would you most highly recommend?
A: Anything by Thomas Bernhard. I’m really excited by him.
Q: If you’ve been to Washington, DC, before, what places do you recommend our attendees visit?
A: Vietnam memorial. The Phillips collection.
Q: If you could run into any author, contemporary or historical, at #AWP17, who would it be and what would you talk about?
A: Bob Dylan. We would complain about the crowd. Why are we here we would ask each other.
Eileen Myles is the author of nineteen books including I Must Be Living Twice: New & Selected Poems, and a 2015 reissue of Chelsea Girls. In 2016, Myles received a Creative Capital grant and the Clark Prize for Excellence in Art Writing.