Reading from The Importance of Being Iceland. Travel Essays in Art.

Thursday October 15, 2009 at 8pm

Throughout her career, Eileen Myles has reclaimed poetry as public vocation. “Our times needs a shadow,” she writes in The Importance of Being Iceland. Framed by an account of her travels in Iceland, these essays assert inbetweenness as the most vital (and poetic) position to view the world as a whole. Culled form more than two decades of art and cultural criticism originally written for exhibitions, events, and journals, the essays in this book–on subjects ranging from Henry David Thoreau, James Schulyler, and Björk to queer Russia, working class speech, California freeways, and flossing–counterpose the nuance of Iceland’s deeply rooted yet fluid culture with the more prevalent, American fact of steamrolling “global” heteregoneity. Myles links ancient Icelandic verse, New York summer streets, the antiseptic malls of La Jolla, and the back of the Sister Spit tour van with an awareness that criticism is always a social gesture.

The Importance of Being Iceland, Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2009, 369 p.