Skies

In a departure from more rambunctious earlier work, Eileen Myles’s Skies is a book of pared-down, cloud-like poems, wisp-like on the page yet as intensely colored as a sunset. Although her work conjures the texture of wind and the broad spaces of the sky, these poems are not serenely pastoral. Rather, Myles’ sparse blank verse is concerned with the diaphanous qualities of perception, as if her momentary experiences were as slippery and translucent as clouds. A sometimes brutal loneliness and urgent but stoic sensuality results, finding its expression in simple colors: orange, grey, yellow, white, rose.

Eileen Myles has it all—moxie . . . lyric zeal . . . and the anarchic post-feminist energy that has inspired legions of baby dykes to vent in front of the mike. In her new collection, Skies, Myles turns her attention to, well, skies—or, more precisely, skies as the boundless condition for our own coreless, shape-shifting personas . . . meditative, brave, and insouciant, [she] has a limitless gift for marrying poetry with her social agenda.
—The Village Voice

Poet, novelist, performer and art journalist Eileen Myles is the author of nineteen books including I Must Be Living Twice: New & Selected Poems and a re-issue of Chelsea Girls, both out in fall 2015, from Ecco/Harper Collins.

Eileen Myles was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1949, attended Catholic schools in Arlington, and graduated from the University of Massachusetts (Boston) in 1971. She came to New York in 1974 to be a poet. Her poetic education primarily took place at St. Mark’s Poetry Project from 1975 to 1977, through attending readings and participating in workshops led by Alice Notley, Ted Berrigan, and Paul Violi. From 1984 to 1986 Eileen was the artistic director of St. Mark’s Poetry Project.

From 1977 to 1979 she published dodgems, a poetry magazine that represented a collision of New York School, Language Poetry, performance texts, unconventional prose, as well as tossed-off notes from neighbors and celebrities. In 1977, she co-edited the feminist anthology Ladies Museum, and in 1979 she worked as an assistant to poet James Schuyler. That same year, Eileen was a founding member of the Los Texans Collective (along with Elinor Nauen and Barbara McKay), which went on to produce the play Patriarchy and the spiritual entertainment Joan of Arc.

Eileen Myles has toured and read all over North America and Europe on and off since the early 1980s. Her solo performances include Leaving New York (1989), Life (1991), and Summer in Russia (1996) at PS 122 in New York. Her plays include Feeling Blue (Parts 1, 2, and 3) at Modern Art, and Our Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, written for Alina Troyano and produced at PS 122. In 2004, she wrote the libretto for the opera Hell, composed by Michael Webster. In 2010, she created and directed her Dia Center for the Arts performance piece, The Collection of Silence, which involved dancers, poets, children, visual artists, and Buddhists in a collective public act of silence at the Hispanic Society in New York.

Her other books include Snowflake/different streets (2012), Inferno: A Poet’s Novel ( 2010), The Importance of Being Iceland: Travel Essays in Art (2009), Sorry, Tree (2007), Tow (2005, with artists Larry C. Collins), Skies (2001), on my way (2001), Cool for You (novel, 2000), School of Fish (1997), Maxfied Parrish (1995), Not Me (1991), and Chelsea Girls(1994). In 1995, with Liz Kotz, she edited The New Fuck You: Adventures in Lesbian Reading. As a poet and art journalist, she has contributed to a wide number of publications including Art Forum, The New Yorker, Harpers, Parkett, The Believer, Vice, Cabinet, The Nation, TimeOut, Paris Review, and AnOther Magazine. She often contributes essays to catalogs for major exhibitions such as the Whitney and Liverpool Biennials.

Eileen Myles is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in non-fiction, an Andy Warhol/Creative Capital art writers’ grant, a Lambda Book Award, the Shelley Prize from the Poetry Society of America, was named to the Slate/Whiting Second Novel List, and received a poetry award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. She lives in Marfa, TX and New York.