Eileen Myles  [ USA ]


Eileen Myles Portrait
© Amy Steiner

Guest 2005.


A Fresh Young Voice from the Plains
Power Mad Press
New York, 1981

Sappho's Boat
Little Caesar Press
Los Angeles, 1982

Bread and Water
Hanuman Books
New York, 1987

Hanuman Books
New York, 1989

Not Me
New York, 1991

Chelsea Girls
Black Sparrow Press
Santa Rosa, 1994

Maxfield Parrish
Black Sparrow Press
Santa Rosa, 1995

The New Fuck You: Adventures in Lesbian Reading
New York, 1995

School of Fish
Black Sparrow Press
Santa Rosa, 1997

Cool for You
Soft Skull Press
New York, 2000

Black Sparrow Press
Santa Rosa, 2001

On My Way
Faux Press
Cambridge, 2001

Sorry, Tree
Wave Books
Seattle, 2007

Übersetzerin: Barbara Jung

Eileen Myles was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1949. After finishing school in Boston, she moved to New York in 1974.  She soon became part of the art scene in the East Village, which was shaped by personalities such as Andy Warhol and in its literary impulses by the poets of the New York School, and she worked as assistant to one of its most beloved practitioners, the poet James Schuyler. Between 1977 and 1979 she edited the poetry magazine 'dodgems'. She gave the first readings of her poems at CBGB's and at St. Mark's Poetry Project, where she became artistic director in the Mid-Eighties. She also began doing solo performances of her work at that time and two of her performances, 'Feeling Blue Pts. 1, 2 & 3' and 'Modern Art', were produced at PS122 in 1988 and 1990.  As the first poem 'The Troubadour' in her fifth poetry collection, 'School of Fish' (1997) suggests, Myles has long seen the role of poet as a kind of postmodern troubadour. Fittingly, she has brought her poetry and fiction (her first collection of stories, 'Chelsea Girls', appeared in 1994) to audiences across North America, in Europe and Russia, and in 1992 she conducted an openly female write-in campaign for the President of the United States.  Her campaign was prophecied in many ways by 'An American Poem' (in: 'Not Me', 1990) in which she ironically proclaims, "I am a Kennedy", using that appropriated identity to perform a surprising critique of the American political landscape.

At the centre of all her stories and poems stands the figure of Eileen Myles, who performs "lesbianity" in an art-smart and self-confident way that matter-of-factly celebrates the female presence in many of its manifestations and efforts.  Her acclaimed first novel 'Cool for You' (2000) hones in on the confinement of her Irish immigrant grandmother in a psychiatric ward in Massachusetts as the main point of departure for the novel, demonstrating the conditions of oppression and excess of females within institutions.  In her prose writings the reader encounters a restless, tensile stream of staccato narration that merges storytelling, commentary and reflection, foregrounding both its author's keen intelligence and defiant sadness in stark and surprising ways.  Myles's language is often grand and opulent slang, distrustfully avoiding conventional beauty in her writing, and from this direct approach arises a raw, fragile and memorable self-styling.  'The New York Times' described the author as a "cult figure to a generation of post-punk females forming their own literary avant-garde."

Myles writes for 'The Nation' and 'Book Forum' and she is a contributing editor at both 'Index' and 'Shiny' magazines. The anthology she edited with Liz Kotz, 'The New Fuck You / adventures in lesbian reading' (1995) won the Lambda Book Award.  Myles has been a Professor of Writing at the University of California in San Diego since 2002.  In 2006, the opera 'Hell', for which she wrote the libretto, premiered. Her most recent book of poetry was 'Sorry, Tree' (2007).

© international literature festival berlin