Eileen Myles at Harvard Book Store

presenting

Pathetic Literature

in conversation with AMA BIRCH, TOM COLE, FANNY HOWE, PORSHA OLAYIWOLA, ABE RYBECK, and LIEV XUE

Date

Nov
16
Wednesday
November 16, 2022
7:00 PM ET

Location

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Tickets

This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes poet EILEEN MYLES for a discussion of their new collection Pathetic Literature. They will be joined in conversation by poets AMA BIRCH, TOM COLE, FANNY HOWE, PORSHA OLAYIWOLA, ABE RYBECK, and LIEV XUE.

A Return to In-Person Events

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About Pathetic Literature

“Literature is pathetic.” So claims Eileen Myles in their bold and bracing introduction to Pathetic Literature, an exuberant collection of pieces ranging from poetry to theater to prose to something in between, all of which explore those so-called “pathetic” or sensitive feelings around which lives are built and revolutions are incited.

Myles first reclaimed the word for a seminar they taught at the University of California San Diego, rescuing it from the derision into which it had slipped and restoring its original meaning of inspiring emotion or feeling, from the Ancient Greek rhetorical method pathos. Their reinvention of “pathetic” formed the bedrock for this anthology, which includes a breathtaking 106 contributors, encompassing titans of global literature like Robert Walser, Jorge Luis Borges, Rumi, and Gwendolyn Brooks, queer icons and revolutionaries like Dodie Bellamy, Samuel R. Delany, and Bob Flanagan, as well as the invigorating newness and excitement of writers on the rise, including Nicole Wallace, Precious Okoyomon, and Will Farris. Creative nonfiction by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, Jack Halberstam, and Porochista Khakpour rubs shoulders with poetry by Natalie Diaz, Victoria Chang, Lucille Clifton, and Ariana Reines, all joined by prose from Chester Himes, Djuna Barnes, Chris Kraus, and Qiu Miaojin, among so many others. The result is a matchless anthology that is as much an ongoing dialogue as an essential compendium of queer, revolutionary, joyful, and always moving literature.

From confrontations with suffering, embarrassment, and disquiet, to the comforts and consolations of finding one’s familiar double in a poem, Pathetic Literature is a swarming taxonomy of ways to think differently and live pathetically on a polarized and fearful planet.

Abe Rybeck
Abe Rybeck

Abe Rybeck

Playwright Abe Rybeck founded The Theater Offensive and served as its Artistic Director for over 30 years. He works across cultures and generations to create art that engages people in movements. He has written several award winning plays and musicals. Abe was made Honorary Drum Majorette by the South End Dynamite girls twirling team.

Ama Birch
Ama Birch

Ama Birch

Ama Birch is the author of Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, Faces in the Clouds, Sonnet Boom!, Ferguson Interview Project, and a video game available for Android, “Space Quake by Ama Birch.” She has a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts from the State University of New York at New Paltz and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the California Institute of the Arts. She has been published by Great Weather for Media, Autonomedia, A Gathering of the Tribes, Vail/Vale, Vitrine, Insert Blanc Press, Live Mag!, Fellswoop, Apricity, CalArts Creative Writing Program, the State University of New York, and The Brooklyn Rail.

Eileen Myles
Eileen Myles

Eileen Myles

Eileen Myles (they/them) came to New York from Boston in 1974 to be a poet. Their books include For Now (an essay/talk about writing), Afterglow (a dog memoir), I Must Be Living Twice: New and Selected Poems, and Chelsea Girls. The Trip, their super-8 puppet road film, can be seen on YouTube. Eileen has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and was recently elected a member of the American Academy of Arts & Letters. They live in New York and Marfa, TX.

Photo Credit: Hannah Beerman

Fanny Howe
Fanny Howe

Fanny Howe

Fanny Howe is the author of The Needle's Eye, Come and See, and The Winter Sun. Her most recent poetry collection, Second Childhood, was a finalist for the National Book Award, and her fiction has been honored as a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize. She lives in New England.

Liev Xue
Liev Xue

Liev Xue

Liev Xue lives, writes, and practices many hobbies with their dog in Brooklyn. They have written one unpublished manuscript currently titled The Red Dog, and are finally at work on another one.

Porsha Olayiwola
Porsha Olayiwola

Porsha Olayiwola

Porsha Olayiwola is a writer, performer, educator and curator who uses afro-futurism and surrealism to examine historical and current issues in the Black, woman, and queer diaspora. A native of Chicago, she writes, loves and lives in Boston. She is the author of i shimmer sometimes too. Olayiwola is the current poet laureate for the city of Boston.

Tom Cole
Tom Cole

Tom Cole

Tom Cole is a writer and artist living in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. In Boston, his work has been presented at The Theater Offensive, ICA, The Cyclorama, Mills Gallery, and Oni Gallery. He was the Director of the Market Theater in Cambridge for its acclaimed 2000-2002 seasons. In NYC, his work has been presented at Participant Inc, Thread Waxing Space, Performa, and Dixon Place. He is a MacDowell and Edward Albee Foundation Playwriting Fellow.

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