r. erica doyle


photo: nívea castro

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"When the love you want doesn’t want you back, what’s often left is raw, uninhibited, wild, impulsive sex. Winner of the 2014 Norma Farber First Book Award, doyle’s proxy is a stand-in for when there are no words or deeds left for love—there is only space and the humidity of desire. Proxy negotiates the complex emotions around sex and love and offers sex as salvation with an assured poetic hand. Yes to sex when nothing else will do!"

"For a while now, we’ve been a society fascinated by the use of science as a lens to scrutinize human emotion. The practice dates as far back as The Twilight Zone, but more recently has been taken up by writers like Margaret Atwood and Brenda Shaughnessy. The Nolan brothers’ filmInterstellar received critical acclaim in 2014 for its use of theoretical physics as a means of depicting human relationships. Even Broadway threw its hat in the ring with Brian Yorkey’s If/Then telling two tales of one woman’s life, each version a series of choices leading to alternate possibilities and realities."

"R. Erica Doyle’s Proxy wanders in this oppositional space, between “never” and “if only,” exploring sexuality in an oppositional frame, through a protagonist who teaches the reader ideas of love and desire and who shows human beings guarding against hurt and loss, only to become vulnerable again."

"Straight jocks who chortle in the locker room, “huh huh, like what can two women actually do in bed,” might get some serious re-education for their hetero-normative naïveté by sinking their fingers into r. erica doyle’s proxy–her debut collection of prose poems as stand-in for an absent Beloved. "

"Proxy, R. Erica Doyle’s new collection, is a book of exceptional beauty, passion, and intelligence."

"Smart, sexy prose poems that chart an evocative affective queer journey in our post 9-11 moment."

"A change of position, a change of time — R. Erica Doyle’s Proxy moves through the heady, consuming stages of desire, explosion, depression, and peace within the life-cycle of a relationship. Her prose poems are unafraid of the body, of queerness, and the messiness into which one can willingly dive."

"3. Proxy, R. Erica Doyle (Belladonna, 2013). How appropriate that a poetry collection whose epigraphs are all taken from A Tour of the Calculus should be so devastatingly accurate in locating and positioning its preoccupations."

"Imaginative, transgressive, and richly layered, Proxy does more or less everything you'd ever ask a poetry collection to do."

"This mouth, that mouth humming a stillborn melody. Bees fall from your lips." Cave Canem Fellow Doyle's prose poems blend the rawness of a natural storyteller with refined craftsmanship, and the result is little shocks to mind and body in the midst of New York City, the deserts of North Africa, and the mangroves of the Caribbean. Refuse the dull--and anticipate readers wanting more of Doyle's conversations as "The call collapses. The year is birthed."

"How: As part of a subscription to Belladonna* Books’ current run—and at one of the poet’s launch readings.  (Ever been so excited about a book you end up with two copies?)

Why: Because this sexy book made me fall in love with the prose poem all over again.

Where: “In this fairytale, too, there is a castle. On a rise above a river. You enter in a cycle. The dew is come in words."'

"Proxy is as much a work of intellectual ambition and political strategy, expanding and exploring woundedness, as it is aesthetically erotic. If you want to feel deeply, to be pulled into Doyle’s prose, prepare to do so, not with abandon but, with fire in your chest and eyes to the slate sky.... Proxy’s themes may not be new, but they are written anew and exerted with the sensual force seen most powerfully in a community of comrades: the queer and feminist movements and their warrior writers. Doyle carries the torch of her predecessors, blazing the trail from her pen.... If you’re an academic looking for a provocative art text that interweaves issues and themes of urbanity, linguistics, queerness, and geographies of desire, consider this for your syllabus."

"To say that Doyle’s project is about the calculus of the queer, desiring, dying, deviating defying body is to oversimplify (even though that project would not be simple at all). Proxy also pushes back against the idea of calculus that frames it.... You will read this book and you will be astounded at how gorgeous it is to be alive and dying, to be a hot mess falling apart in intimate and public places, to be experiencing a rate of change that changes, a tendency in life towards death which is a limit or not. You will read this book and your organs will react, they will contract and they will open up. And they might help you feel good for a while and they might hurt. And you will know, calculus is happening, calculus is happening, even right now."

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"This interview is loosely transcribed from an in-class discussion at NYU with r. erica doyle on Monday August 13, 2015. The instructor of the course is Eileen Myles. Most questions in the interview were asked by students. In the transcription below, questions and answers are rearranged from how they originally appeared (in oration)."

Tony Trigilio interviews poets about their recently released or forthcoming books. Always informal, each interview is a conversation—two poets talking about the work and play of the creative process, and showcasing some of the most innovative new work in contemporary poetry.

Episode 19: r. erica doyle

"You have come to do an autopsy and at the first excision found a beating heart.”

R. Erica Doyle’s Proxy cuts with terrifying precision as it performs an autopsy on desire. Proxy was published by Belladonna* and won the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award, and was a Lambda Literary Award finalist.  I sat down with Doyle to discuss.

“When I write, I am hungry for something. And I don't always know what it is. But the poem is there to assuage it.”

"Released by Belladonna Books in early April, R. Erica Doyle’s quarto-sized Proxy brought forward a new kind of calculus: the poetic arithmetic of an intensely erotic intersectionality of politics. Dolye’s abstract relational arithmetic requires a lot of unpacking–not in the form of clarification but, rather, imagination and elaboration. An active member of the New York City writing community, Doyle’s poetry is influenced by her roles as educator and life-scholar. In a Lambda Literary interview, R. Erica Doyle gets real with Jessica Mason McFadden about social issues invoked by her work and the politics of process."

Holy Erotic Psychologic Linguistic Twister: R. Erica Doyle’s Proxy Takes Stage

"Hardly anyone was writing about sex the way I knew we were doing it, and feeling it, and sometimes fucking each other up and over. Sex and the body are what make us dangerous—no one would care if we were writing platonic letters to each other about maple leaves."

photo: widevision photography

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