PRINT February 2020


Eileen Myles, The Trip, 2019, Super 8, color, sound, 17 minutes 9 seconds.

LAST FALL, at the New School in New York, poet Eileen Myles presented an essay they’d written on the acquisition of their archives by Yale University’s Beinecke Library. Having sold 108 linear feet of personal notebooks, drafts, computer files, and trinkets—what the archivists dryly called “mixed materials”—and aware that all would soon be available to the grubby hands of the public, Myles noted, “It was a little like being buried alive.”1 They also described an unexpected self-censorship that arose after they had relegated so much of their past to acid-free boxes. As Myles explained in a postscript called “My Secret,” they began “writing as if someone is reading” and consequently wanting to withhold their most intimate ideas, words, and experiences from the page. To be archived, as per Myles, is to enter into a space of death, even as “the rest [is] still alive and creating more

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