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Eileen Myles

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Born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1949, Eileen Myles attended Catholic school in Arlington, Massachusetts, and earned their BA from the University of Massachusetts (Boston). In 1974, they joined The Poetry Project at St. Mark's in New York City, where their teachers included Alice Notley, Paul Violi, and Ted Berrigan. In 1979, Myles worked as an assistant to poet James Schuyler.

Myles's first major collection, Not Me, was published by Semiotext(e) in 1991. Their later volumes include Snowflake/different streets (Wave Books, 2012); Sorry, Tree (Wave Books, 2007); Skies (Black Sparrow Press, 2001); School of Fish (Black Sparrow Press, 1997); and Maxfield Parrish (Black Sparrow Press, 1995). Myles is also the author two novels, Inferno: A Poet's Novel (OR Books, 2010), winner of the 2011 Lambda Literary Award, and Cool for You (2000). Myles has also written a short story collection, Chelsea Girls (1994). They won an art writing grant from the Warhol Foundation for their collection of essays, The Importance of Being Iceland (Semiotext(e), 2009) and received a Guggenheim fellowship in 2012. Their most recent book is I Must Be Living Twice: New and Selected Poems 1975-2014 (Ecco, 2015).

Dennis Cooper describes Myles as "one of the savviest and most restless intellects in contemporary literature." In the Boston Review, Kathleen Rooney compares Myles’s "output" to Willie Nelson's in how "the poems enact a radical receptiveness to passing thoughts and experiences."

In addition to writing poetry, Myles was artistic director of St. Mark’s Church from 1984 to 1987 and coedited the anthology The New Fuck You/adventures in lesbian reading (Semiotext(e), 1995). Myles also wrote the libretto for the opera Hell, by Michael Webster, which was performed on both coasts and in Tijuana. In 1991, Myles launched a write-in campaign for president of the United States. Myles has written about art, culture, and writing for a variety of publications, including ArtForum, BookForum, The Believer, The Nation and Parkett.

Myles is a professor emeritus of writing and literature at University of California, San Diego, and currently teaches at New York University, Columbia University, and the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado. They divide their time between Marfa, Texas, and New York City.

by this poet

poem

faint tinkling down the street
moved me from Swan
to Mass Ave
the skinny men running
into Boston. Why

I don’t know. Let’s go
to town hall
giant horses
Paul Revere & William
Dawes and horses
hairy poop lands
splat on the brick. Get em to sign
your

poem

It’s a little bit
true that the
hole in my jacket
pocket
the breast pocket
yeah all relaxed
has a hole &
pens keep
slipping through
one’s in the lining
but this one
perched
now it’s a writing
bird
silly black out there
wants to
tell

poem
you've gotta
write clearer
so you can
be read
when you're
dead