Eileen Myles

(1949 - / Cambridge / Massachusetts)

Biography of Eileen Myles

Eileen Myles poet

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).

Professional Life

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.

Critical Reception

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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