ABOVE: Marika Haskins. NOT PICTURED: Eileen Myles.
Not so long ago, perhaps in February, we sent a request to the wonderfully talented and groundbreaking Eileen Myles with a request for an interview and a link to our previous articles, that way she would know what she was getting into. Myles graciously agreed, and so we sent her the questions with a request that she try and get her answers back to us within five days, but then we didn’t really hear anything back, so we figured it wasn’t her cup of tea. Oh well, we thought. We tried. After a few more e.mails back and forth, some time in May we finally got her answers to our questions, and she proved to us that it wasn’t her cup of tea at all. Eileen Myles sidestepped, twisted, or outright rejected nearly every question and prompt we gave her, and returned what many would consider an unpublishable interview. For a while we were actually planning to never publish this, but we love Eileen Myles, and honestly we love that she totally shit on our whole approach to interviews. That is just SO her, you know? I mean, do I wish that she would have just responded to the prompts and written us a bunch of bitchin’ poems? Of course I do. However, we’re glad to have gotten anything. The ones that she did answer she answered well, and the ones that she shit on make us smile. They also make us say, “Really? You couldn’t have just answered that and written a poem?” but we are smiling the whole time we’re saying that, because fuck all, she’s clever.
Eileen Myles is a rad lady, and in our opinion this is a rad interview. We just hope she had fun.
THE “THIS DIDN’T WORK AT ALL” INTERVIEW
Take your favorite Woody Allen movie and write it as a poem. ANNIE
HALL is off limits, as is SLEEPER. Also off the list are any of the
films Woody Allen isn’t in as one of the main characters. If you don’t
like Woody Allen, oh well. Pick one of his movies and go for broke.
Why do we have to watch this ugly
Write a piece of flash fiction about a woman who falls in love with a
tree, and then name it something awesome (the story, not the tree).
Now please write the story again, but differently, and name it
something else. Give us one more version and a brand new title made up
of no less than 21 words. None of these stories can end in death, and
dialogue is a must. Tell us which of the three you like the most.
THE ENDLESS RAPE OF THE AMERICAN LANDSCAPE
She sits at the Denver international airport realizing those towers
are teepees. She’s put behind her all that stuff about that woman she
met who was growing in the park. She turns around.
THE ENDLESS RAPE OF THE AMERICAN ARTIST
She realizes that the illustration of teepees in the middle of the
terminal is a not a copy of a work of art but the airport itself. She
THE ENDLESS RAPE OF THE NATIVE AMERICAN
She is told the airport is cursed. It is on a sacred site.
Talk about the best piece of small press fiction you’ve read in the
last year - like give us a synopsis, and the author, and what made it
so enjoyable. Now please write your own version of it in 200 words or
less. Keep the title.
It’s time to get serious about how we categorize our publishers. In
the 80s something was invented called the mainstream and it meant
corporate publishing. Previously the larger publishers were called Big
Houses and the smaller ones were called Small Presses. Since then in
music and film we call the independent media ‘independent’ or indies
for short. Whenever I see someone who is involved with books still
call independent presses small presses I think wow they must be
comfortable for some reason with keeping the world of indie publishing
sounding small and failed despite the fact it that persistently puts
out the bravest and the best books. Dodie writes crisply and directly
and digressively about a distracting love with a priggish man, a
Buddhist. Along the way she goes all around the world, looks at art,
meets her friends, talks about her feelings. She questions why it’s
important to be unemotional in order to have power. Dodie’s prose
style is amazing and endlessly blossoming into something even smarter
than it was before. She thinks on her feet. Even if she’s sitting in
I’m not much of an imitator.
The love of your life passes away, and in her will she asks that you
have her stuffed and then date her corpse for at least a year. And
this is not a casual date scenario - she wants you to travel with her,
to show her off around the country, proving to the world how much you
love this woman. Also, there is a lot of money involved (she was
totally loaded), and after a year of this you stand to inherit three
million dollars. If you say no, her corpse will be dressed up in men’s
gym clothes and hung upside down from a Starbucks Drive-through, her
lifeless body holding a sign that says “It turns out she didn’t love
me afterall.” What do you decide to do? If you agree to date the
corpse, how do you dress her up? What pose do you get her stuffed in?
After the year is up, what do you do with this gal? And what, my dear,
do you spend the money on? And, on the other hand, if you end up
saying no, I mean seriously, how do you sleep at night? She was the
love of your life!
I think I start writing a blog about this insane request my ex left in
her will. I call it Dodie Bellamy’s THE BUDDHIST.
I want you to write a poem about a serial killer, preferably the Son
of Sam, the Shoe Fetish Slayer, or the Vampire of Sacramento.
I don’t want to. I’ve never been interested in any serial killers
except Eileen Wuronos. Okay here’s my poem.
Tell me about your favorite field trip as a child. Spare no detail.
Going to the fireworks on the fourth of July. Being out at night with
my parents and my siblings and having ice cream. Having ice cream with
my family any summer night. That’s all. It was great.
Write a poem about something that would happen in a Dungeon and
Dragons campaign. This can not include your favorite mythical
creature, nor can it include any references to the people playing the
I know nothing about Dungeons and Dragons.
Would you rather be haunted by the ghosts of all your dead pets or
live in a house made from repurposed coffins? And by that I mean that
they dug these things up, dumped out the bodies, and made your house.
No ghosts though. Oh yeah, and write a poem about whichever one you
end up choosing.
I hate all this dead stuff. I’m not into it.
Also, did you go to prom? Tell me about it, or, if not, why you didn’t go.
Yes I did. I went with a guy named Bob Conroy and he wore a powder
blue pinstripe tux I would have liked to wear. I wore a pink dress and
my hair was pouffed though it was 1967.
THE “FINISH THIS SENTENCE” INTERVIEW
1. When I was a kid, the thing that frightened me the most was… my mother.
2. If I was in an elevator with Elvis Costello I would… say hi and say
I was crazy about certain songs of his.
3. If my best friend and future wife both needed a kidney, and I was
the only blood match for both, I would… probably give it to either
because they would be the same person.
4. If I had to choose between slowly turning into a giant spider or…
turning into a little one I’d pick big.
5. Nobody knows this, but I killed a woman in the city of… New York.
6. Religion is for… the lazy.
7. The least talented writer I know is… Jeanette Winterston.
8. My favorite breakfast includes… pancakes.
9. When I die my tombstone will read… I’m actually here.
See, she’s rad. Normally when we publish an interview with someone you have a bunch of proof of what a great writer they are, but this time you may need to do a little research on your own. Check out some of this. I reccomend INFERNO.