Just read Maggie Nelson’s Bluets which will soon be in a bookstore near you. It’s an uncategorizable piece of writing composed of numbered philosophical statements which consider the color blue, and so much else but in the aftermath of reading Maggie’s “bluets” the fascinating word Pharmikon remains in my mind.
It means drug though “the word in Greek famously refused to designate whether poison or cure.” It’s also variously described as “a recipe, a charm, a substance, a spell, artificial color and paint.” She knocks about trying to link it to love, to fucking. But it doesn’t stick. She brings up the possibility that instead like beauty, Pharmikon radiates. It does not stay still. And finally the written word is called Pharmikon.
Eileen Myles was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was educated in Catholic schools, graduated from the University of Massachusetts-Boston, and moved to New York City in 1974 to be a poet. They gave their first reading at CBGB's and then gravitated to St. Mark's church where they studied with Ted...