Biography of Eileen Myles
Eileen Myles is an American poet who has also worked in fiction, non-fiction, and theater. She won a 2010 Shelley Memorial Award.
Early Life and Career
Eileen Myles grew up and attended Catholic schools in Arlington, Massachusetts and graduated from U. Mass (Boston) in 1971.
Arriving in New York in 1974, Myles gave her first reading at CBGB and attended workshops at St. Mark’s Poetry Project, studying alongside Alice Notley, Ted Berrigan, and Bill Zavatsky. She developed as a part of the poetry and queer art scene that developed in Manhattan's East Village. She worked as assistant to poet James Schuyler; met Allen Ginsberg at the Nuyorican Poets Café.
Her first performances and theater pieces (Joan of Arc: a spiritual entertainment, Patriarchy, a play, Feeling Blue Pts. 1, 2 7 3 and Modern Art and Our Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz) at the St. Mark's Poetry Project, P.S. 122 and The WOW Café. Myles has performed her work at colleges, performance spaces, and bookstores across North America as well as in, Iceland, Ireland and Russia. She lives in New York.
Myles's works include poetry, fiction, articles, plays and libretti, including: Hell (an opera with composer Michael Webster).
In 1992 Myles conducted a female-led write-in campaign for President of the United States. In the 1980s she was Artistic Director of St. Mark's Poetry Project. In 1997 and again in 2007 Eileen toured with Sister Spit, a post-punk female performance troupe.
Myles is Professor Emerita of Writing and Literature, and taught at University of California, San Diego from 2002 to 2007. She continues to teach during summers at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado, and was the Hugo Writer at University of Montana for the spring of 2010. She contributes to several publications, recently including Parkett, aNother Magazine, the Believer, H.O.W journal and Provincetown Arts. During summer 2009 she contributed regularly to the Poetry Foundation's "Harriet" blog.
Bust Magazine has called Myles "the rock star of modern poetry", and Holland Cotter in The New York Times described her as "a cult figure to a generation of post-punk female writer-performers." Of her poetry book Sorry, Tree, the Chicago Review wrote: "Her politics are overt, her physicality raw, yet it is the subtle gentle noticing in her poems that overwhelms."
In 2010, her novel Inferno won the Lambda Literary Award for Best Lesbian Fiction.
Eileen Myles's Works:
The Irony of the Leash. Jim Brodey Books, 1978.
Polar Ode (with Anne Waldman). New York: Dead Duke Books, 1979.
A Fresh Young Voice from the Plains. New York: Power Mad Press, 1981.
Sappho's Boat. Los Angeles: Little Caesar, 1982.
Bread and Water (stories). New York: Hanuman Books, 1986.
1969 (fiction). New York: Hanuman Books, 1989.
Not Me. New York: Semiotext(e), 1991.
Chelsea Girls (fiction). Santa Rosa, CA: Black Sparrow Press, 1994.
Maxfield Parrish: Early and New Poems. Santa Rosa, CA: Black Sparrow Press. 1995.
The New Fuck You: Adventures in Lesbian Reading (co-edited with Liz Kotz). New York: Semiotext(e), MIT Press, 1995.
School of Fish, Santa Rosa, CA: Black Sparrow Press, 1997.
Cool for You (novel). New York: Soft Skull Press, 2000.
Skies: Poems. Santa Rosa, CA: Black Sparrow Press. 2001.
On My Way, Cambridge, MA: Faux Press, 2001.
Tow (with drawings by artist Larry C. Collins), New York: Lospeccio Press, 2005.
Sorry, Tree (poems). 2007, Wave Books.
The Importance of Being Iceland (art writing). New York: Semiotext(e), MIT Press, 2009.
Inferno: a poet's novel. OR Books. 2010.
Snowflake (new poems) and different streets (newer poems) (forthcoming from Wave Books, 2012)
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Eileen Myles Poems
She's rubbing his shoulder and he's reading about Western birds. There's a scoop of light just above my knee
I am always hungry & wanting to have sex. This is a fact.
was when the lights were out
Please! Keep reading me Blake because you're going to make
An American Poem
I was born in Boston in 1949. I never wanted this fact to be known, in fact I've spent the better
The Honey Bear
Billie Holiday was on the radio I was standing in the kitchen smoking my cigarette of this
You're like a little fruit you're like a moon I want
Close to the door in my dream the
I'm playing with the devil's cock it's like a crayon it's like a fat burnt crayon I'm writing a poem with it I'm writing that down all that rattling heat in this room I'm using that I'm using that tingling rattle that light in the middle of the room it's my host I've always been afraid of you scared you're god and something else I'm afraid when you're yellow tawny white it's okay. Transparent cool you don't look like home my belly is homeless flopping over the waist of my jeans like an omelette there better be something about feeling fat what there really is is a lack of emptiness I'm aiming for that empty feeling going to get some of that and then I'll be back
the car had a cover over it and it was over the wheels and it hurt my ass and I couldn't sleep. It seems I should move, go forward now I was wandering through the jungle anywhere on earth but I was a woman in bed in New York and how many people have died in wild places dreaming you were still in bed would you know. Travel well I said to my dog when she went on her journey thinking of a cheap movie I've thought this was an urn turning this was on water this was flat but now I see light between the trees I see water trickling through stone this is not made of language but energy that will stop when I die the dream dies too one bolt
THAT RAT'S DEATH
I'm proud that I fed my avocado to the mice this week To see that scattered dust around the hole I felt dis- appointed the apple had been spared the throbbing soup, home he said it's a storm it's a storm I thought am I allowed to ask entire questions to take this space alone you bobbing you painted in my dog's face so care- fully some kind of violence stretches the thought so long and allows the horns of words to touch each other. I think of him taking this much space. you don't know about this dish towel for that matter who was I in another time giving the tails so much puzzled that these spices went someplace else they did today in a sandwich the empty hall into which I am reading the empty country an entire country I wanted all of them how I would like just one to pick things up in its cities and its rain its coast the outer coat 78 rpm silly news- papers turning cat on a porch and other countries nearby & home ready for me when I have something to say or show if ever my empty mistakes my empty vase my empty powers of horror my empty sex o bring the snow that rat's death killed me because i would see it for days over and over and it hardly could be the same rat whose insides whisked the street we don't think that war is such an incredible mess but it was just yesterday and in ancient poems years ago in the past dying the balloon just bursts it cannot bring u back again the huge cool breath the lake doesn't want you anymore or her arms her sweet muff or breast the storm the past. but no I won't leave my cheese out for them anymore and I must be the last person in the world in new york to read him who told us about mice that sing & fill empty auditoriums like us and our singing hearts our formula for bringing it out. Pulling the receptacle apart watch the tiny ship floating on it smithereens I ducked the tail edging over taking a little bit more. The price of wider concepts is not choosing your drops oh flicking me off reminding me of you everyone yell at once Two Rabbit legs jutting out I keep my childhood around almost more than every- one and a mouse can share my house wet toot tootsie it's kind of great the whole thing is relative. Since I ad- mired his mountains I imagin- ed I was in his landscapes but opening packages is occurring all over the place. That's a strong image and I feel like the smallness is directly rooted forgetting to use the new cal- endar I planned. These marks (I imagined) are the sources all the milk flooding wildly over the rolling hills and out of the sun's comical eyes. Not tears but creamy drops of mammalian weather. I'm given real information and the most difficult part is blindly creating the space where the parts I can't see or even hear spread out (like the night in Paris when I walked to the movies ) onto my desk and the surrounding hills into the bleachers where everyone is pounding themselves bloody in salute of the hunt all I ever wanted was dinner or at least his love the delight I see in him is equally empty for anyone & probably that's his stealth. Inner lake. There's a car a maroon a colourless oval I can imagine the seats and the feeling of hearing a song as we're weaving over hills. There's no break. Ev- erybody I ever saw in my seacoast community is already facing the problems huge and gloomy I grant you and the night spills on my keys which are splayed over the counter and outside it's light. & they are flip- ping their cards every one of them.
Roads around mountains cause we can't drive through
I have utmost respect for you but in that
I was 6 and I lost my snake.
a little fruit
a moon I want
I said lemon slope
because it's one