Eileen Myles to read Nov. 4 and 11

‘Rock star of modern poetry’ is Visiting Hurst Professor

Acclaimed poet and fiction writer Eileen Myles, named by BUST magazine as “the rock star of modern poetry” and author most recently of Inferno (A Poet’s Novel), will present a pair of events as part of the fall Writing Program Reading Series.


Myles, the Visiting Fannie Hurst Professor of Creative Literature in the Department of English in Arts & Sciences, will read from her work at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4. The following week, she will present a talk on the craft of writing at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11.

Both events are free and open to the public and take place in Hurst Lounge, Room 201, Duncker Hall. A reception and book signing immediately will follow each.

For more information, call (314) 935-7130 or e-mail David Schuman at dschuman@wustl.edu.

Inferno, which is forthcoming later this month, follows a young female writer who — like Myles herself — leaves Boston for the maelstrom of 1970s New York, discovering her sexuality and her own creative drive amidst the city’s raucous punk and indie heyday.

“Eileen Myles debates her own self-identity in a gruffly beautiful, sure voice of reason,” notes filmmaker John Waters. “Is she a ‘hunk’? A ‘dyke’? A ‘female’? I’ll tell you what she is — damn smart! Inferno burns with humor, lust and a healthy dose of neurotic happiness.”

Born in Boston in 1949, Myles attended Catholic schools in Arlington, Mass., and graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston in 1971. She came to New York three years later and soon began reading her poems publicly, taking workshops at St. Mark’s Poetry Project in New York’s East Village. Early collections include The Irony of the Leash (1978), A Fresh Young Voice From the Plains (1981) and Sappho’s Boat (1982) — all later collected in Maxfield Parrish: Early & New Poems (1995).

Other books of poetry include Not Me (1991), School of Fish (1997), on my way (2001), Skies (2001) and Sorry Tree (2007).

Myles’ first fiction was the story collection Chelsea Girls (1994), which was followed by Cool for You, a nonfiction novel, in 2000.

Her reviews, essays and articles have appeared most recently in Artforum, Parkett, Vice, AnOther Magazine and the Brooklyn Rail. Her essays were collected in The Importance of Being Iceland (2009).

From 2002-07, Myles directed the writing program at the University of California, San Diego, during which time she wrote the libretto for the opera Hell, composed by Michael Webster. Earlier this year, she received the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America.

She lives in New York.

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