December 2011 – Poet – Eileen Myles



Eileen Myles operates in the art, writing, and queer performance scenes as a kind of observant flaneur. She is a poet, novelist, and performer who has written extensively on art and writing and the cultural scene. She was born in Cambridge, MA in 1949, and graduated from UMass (Boston) in 1971. She came to New York in 1974 to be a poet. Her most recent book Inferno (a poet’s novel) chronicles the adventures of a female writer in hell very much like Eileen Myles. Inferno is actually a kunstlerroman.

Myles first became known to many people for her openly female write-in campaign for President of the United States in 1991-92.

She received her poetic education at The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church in 1975-77.

In the late 70s she published two issues of dodgems, a poetry magazine which presented a collision of New York School, Language Poetry, performance texts and other likely aesthetics of the time. She co-edited the feminist anthology Ladies Museum (w Timmons, Kraut and Notley), worked as assistant to poet James Schuyler in 1979, and was a founding member of the Lost Texans Collective (w Nauen & McKay) which produced Joan of Arc a spiritual entertainment and Patriarchy, a play. Following these were solo performances: Leaving New York (1989), Life (a performance by Eileen Myles) (1991) and Summer in Russia (1996) at PS 122, the Judson Church, Franklin Furnace and the WOW Café and her plays Feeling Blue Parts 1, 2, & 3; Modern Art; and Our Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, which she wrote for Alina Troyano, were all produced at PS122. Her books include The Importance of Being Iceland/travel essays in art (2009) for which she received a Warhol/Creative Capital art writing grant, Sorry, Tree (poetry) 2007, Tow w/ artist Larry C. Collins (2005), Skies (2001), on my way (2001), Cool for You (novel, 2000), School of Fish (1997), Maxfield Parrish (1995), Not Me (1991), and Chelsea Girls (stories, 1994).

In 1995, with Liz Kotz, she edited The New Fuck You/adventures in lesbian reading. From 1984 through 1986 Myles was Artistic Director of St. Mark’s Poetry Project. In 2004 she wrote the libretto for the opera, Hell, composed by Michael Webster and performed on both coasts and in Tijuana in 2004 and in 2006. She is a Professor Emeritus of writing & literature at UC San Diego where she taught from 2002 to 2007.

In Spring, 2010 she was the Hugo Writer at U. of Montana in Missoula. In November of 2010 she was Fannie Hurst Professor at Washington University in St. Louis. She contributes to a wide number of publications including Art Forum, the Harriet blog, Parkett, The Believer, Vice, Cabinet, The Nation, TimeOut, Book Forum and AnOther Magazine. She received an Andy Warhol/Creative Capital art writers’ grant for “Iceland.” The Poetry Society of American awarded her the Shelley Prize in 2010. Her website is She lives in New York.

Lnl Questionnaire

Your favourite virtue?


Your favourite qualities in a man?


Your favourite qualities in a woman?


Your main characteristic?


 What draws you most to your friends?

Their knowledge.

Given the opportunity what would you most like to change?

The American congress.

Who would you most like to take out for dinner?

Kelly Reichert.

 Your idea of happiness?


 What is your favourite way of spending the day?

Writing, eating dinner with my girlfriend, seeing art. Watching a movie.

Whose life other than yours would you most like to have lived?

Charlie Chaplin

Where would you most like to live?

New YorK City.

Who is your favourite author?

Violette LeDuc

Who is your favourite poet?

James Schuyler

 Your favourite heroes in fiction?

Seymour Glass

Your favourite heroines in fiction?

Jo in Little Women

 Your favourite painters?

Arthur Dove, Nicole Eisenman, Xylor Jane

Who is your favourite composer?

Arthur Russell

What is your favourite Film?


Your favourite food?

Spaghetti aNd meatballs.

Your favourite drink?


Who do you most admire?

My girlfriend, Leopoldine.

What is your present state of mind?


For what fault have you most toleration?


Your favourite motto?

Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.


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