Tao Lin selects Mira Gonzalez

Could this Tao-Lin-approved poet be behind the new, non-white, female Infinite Jest?

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Mira Gonzalez
Mira Gonzalez Photography by Dimitri Karakostas

Taken from the January issue of Dazed & Confused:

Alt Lit phenomenon Tao Lin: “I’ve described some of Mira’s tweets and text messages as ‘insanely funny’. I feel interested in Mira writing a 1,000-page book that people would call the new, non-white, female Infinite Jest.”

Twenty-one-year-old Mira Gonzalez is more than just a poet in the traditional sense. She’s also a social media phenomenon: the Brooklynite’s first book, i will never be beautiful enough to make us beautiful together, sold out its first print run in no small part due to word of mouth – or, more accurately, word of tweet – leaving a bitter taste in a lot of already bitter mouths. “If I had to guess,” she offers, when asked why her work puts so many backs up, “I would say it’s probably something about how the internet is accessible to basically anybody. It becomes extremely easy to publish anything. There’s nobody to say, ‘This is good enough to be shown to a massive audience.’ That scares people: it’s much easier to be told what’s good and what’s not good than to decide for yourself.”

“I write about my own experiences because they are the only thing I can experience. I feel aversion to the idea of any writing being objectively judged as valuable or not valuable. If the value of writing were based on whether or not the writer writes about their own experiences, then no writing would have value”

In line with her social-media persona – a whirlwind of “overshare” spread across several accounts – Gonzalez’s writing is a collection of intense and awkwardly personal vignettes: linguistic snapshots, often punch-in-the-gut beautiful, of the overwhelming miraculousness and all-encompassing drudgery of being, capturing that holy quadrilogy of sex, drugs, sadness and social normality. “Even though something like drugs or a relationship or a job is temporary in my own life or anyone else’s, I wouldn’t consider that throwaway. Because everything has a long-term effect to some degree.” 

For better or worse, her poetry is deeply rooted in the “I” – a voice out of favour in high-minded circles for supposedly failing to answer or even ask those mythical “big” questions. It’s easy to level the kind of accusations of narcissism and triviality that plague alt lit en masse, but Gonzalez lives outside of that box. “I don’t feel like my writing is solipsistic because I’m not suggesting that my own experience is the only thing that exists,” she says. “I write about my own experiences because they are the only thing I can experience. I feel aversion to the idea of any writing being objectively judged as valuable or not valuable. If the value of writing were based on whether or not the writer writes about their own experiences, then no writing would have value.”

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