Eileen Myles

Eileen Myles

About Eileen Myles

Eileen Myles is a LAMBDA Literary Award-winning American poet and writer who has produced more than 20 volumes of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, libretti, plays, and performance pieces over the last three decades. Novelist Dennis Cooper has described Myles as one of the savviest and most restless intellects in contemporary literature. In 2012, Myles received a Guggenheim Fellowship to complete Afterglow (a memoir), which gives both a real and fantastic account of a dog's life. Myles uses they/them pronouns.
Myles's first book, The Irony of the Leash, was published by Jim Brodey from the St. Mark's Poetry Project in 1978. In 1977 and 1979, Myles published issues of dodgems, a literary magazine, a title referring, in the vernacular of Great Britain, to bumper cars, specifically those of Revere Beach, MA. The title is said to serve as a metonym for the collision of aesthetic differences that characterized the poetry scene of that time. The dodgems issues featured poems by John Ashbery, Barbara Guest, Charles Bernstein, as well as a letter from Lily Tomlin and an angry note from a neighbor; both issues are referenced in the book, A Secret Location on the Lower East Side—Adventures in Writing: 1960–1980, (which also describes St. Mark's), and were exhibited in vitrines in the Library's 1998 show on the same subject.
Myles's next collection, A Fresh Young Voice From the Plains (1981), earned their first major review, by Jane Bosveld in Ms.. Not Me (1991) is Myles's most popular collection of poetry. It contains Myles work, An American Poem, in which they fictionalize their identity and claims to be a Kennedy, and comfortably addresses politics in the work. They first performed the work at P.S. 122 in New York City, during their tenure at St. Mark's. Since then An American Poem has been filmed and shown in film festivals all over the world, screening in New York and other major cities. It has been included, in translation, in German, Russian, and Italian anthologies of American writing. The trajectory of An American Poem is documented in Myles's novel Inferno (2010).
Myles produced Maxfield Parrish/early and new poems (1995), a collection of both new and selected poems on the theme of the surreality of sex. In the same year, Myles co-edited The New Fuck You: Adventures in Lesbian Reading (1995) with Liz Kotz, which is described as having a multi-genre approach and postmodern focus on reading rather than identity, and which is said to have offered something different from mainstream gay and lesbian poetry anthologies of the 1990s. Soon after, School of Fish (1997) appeared, the first work wherein Myles's dog, Rosie is featured, where Rosie served as a second camera in the poem's field of vision.
Myles published Skies (2000), a project begun in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where the poet described the sky becoming a new character in my life. The book is framed by a transcript of a panel at The Schoolhouse Gallery in Provincetown, Massachusetts featuring Helen Miranda Wilson, Frances Richard, John Kelly, Molly Benjamin, and Jack Pierson, who each spoke about their own relation to the sky. On My Way (2001) concludes with an essay about speech and class, The End of New England.
Snowflake / Different Streets (2012) uses the technique of dos-à-dos binding to combine two distinct collections of poetry in the same physical book. As Ian Bodkin writes in his review of the work, Myles' poems navigat[e] the ever-insular landscape of our technological culture that invades moments of quiet thought in Snowflake, then offers a sense of return to the people and places of intimacy, connections that bring her back to this world in different streets.

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