PJAS 11 Autumn-7

Małgorzata Myk
Citizen Myles
Polish Journal for American Studies, vol. 11 (Autumn 2017), pp. 345-357


The following paper proposes a reading of American poet Eileen Myles’ 2007 poetry collection Sorry, Tree in the interrelated contexts of Lauren Berlant’s understanding of intimacy and her concept of intimate citizenship, Lee Edelman’s understanding of sexuality and negativity, as well as Giorgio Agamben’s sense of the contemporary as always untimely. An openly lesbian and queer author, Myles gestures towards the sawed and the disempowered, olering an intimate, yet unmistakably political negotiation of a minoritarian lesbian position as both denant and transformative of the (hetero)normative status quo through acts of observation, engagement, and participation that do not necessarily have to be conspicuous or successful to elect reconceptualization of the social; rather, Myles suggests that individual agency in the public world also resides in failure as illuminative of the fact that one’s desire for presence is continuously actualized through entanglement with negativity.

Keywords: Eileen Myles, presidential campaign, intimate citizenship, the contemporary, New Narrative, failure, negativity.

DOI: 10.7311/PJAS.11/2/2017.07

Full Article