Eileen Myles

You Private Person: An Interview with Richard Chiem

I interviewed Richard Chiem on the occasion of his first book, You Private Person, published by Scrambler Books. Photos via Frances Dinger and (the above) Matthew Simmons.  

What was your favorite book when you were younger? What books have made you lol or cry or feel excited?

I think I read a lot of Goosebumps books and Animorphs books, and I was trying to collect the whole series for each. If I think about 1995, there were many times of me just waiting by myself inside a Safeway, because you could find them in the book aisle. I could read one of those books in about two and a half hours, so it became an easy addiction, since I wanted to know everything, to know the whole story. I would stack up my stacks of books next to my video games and my comic books in towers. They were each numbered like episodes, and in different colors. It seemed perfect to me at the time to have them all. I would save up six or seven dollars, everything other week or so in 1995, waiting in line at a Safeway. I recognized a particular need to read. But they never made me cry or laugh. I don’t really remember what exactly I was feeling when I was eight years old, in third grade, but I remember those simple horror and adventure stories, and I can still talk about them.

I turn on subtitles when I watch movies now. Some of my friends hate it and some really like it. It was adding another dimension to every movie and it quickened the pace of the viewing experience for me. And I watch a lot of movies. I always write after watching
a movie when everything still feels really alive about the story.


Author Spotlight & Film & I Like __ A Lot / 11 Comments
November 2nd, 2012 / 11:50 am

Gay Sunshine, 1971

I remember the first time I thought a guy was hot. It was an ad in The Saturday Evening Post, a really American magazine and there he was, tall and blonde with his suit jacket slung over his shoulder like Sinatra and he was says into the camera Hey Mom and Dad can I have $20,000 for college. And that seemed like an enormous amount of money at that time and I knew my family wasn’t going to help me do anything like that – especially since I was considered dumb but I tore the page out of the post and stuck it on my wall. I figured it would appear to be about my absurd dreams of going to college but I knew it was about that guy. And my brother knew as well. My brother was a chubby guy named Edward who lived across the hall. I’ve met Edward Field since then who is a poet and he has made the name okay but in my family both my fat brother and that sadistic bastard uncle Ed both marked the name as anything but good. I mean I don’t know why I hate my brother so much since he was my first lover if I may be so perverse. I guess it’s because despite his devotion to sucking my cock when we were kids he didn’t actually want to be perverted. He wanted to be dad which he is today but I remember what his glee looked like when disgustingly for the first time I got off. He would come into my bedroom in the morning and I would pretend. Pretending seemed to be what befitted the baby brother. I was ten when our game began. First he’d play with my nipples which made me both crazy and sick because I thought he wouldn’t do this if we had any sisters so he’s making me like a girl but that’s when my boner would begin so I knew I was sick too. Kind of like him. But the look on his face when he took my tiny cock in his mouth was really bad like he was eating bad food. It was just like he was ashamed by what a pervert he was and of course the fact that he made himself sick was what made it okay for me. To be quiet, to softly groan, to put the pillow over my mouth so I wouldn’t make noise and mom wouldn’t come up and afterwards I got paid. He’d throw seventy-five cents on my bed or sometimes only fifty like we were in some western but in the movies cause on teevee they never went that far. Sometimes we went really far. It seemed to me at the time. If Mom went shopping on Saturday morning he’d be right there in my room and he’d be sniffing my asshole and licking it like a dog and once in a while shoving a finger in with the help of some Vaseline. READ MORE >

Excerpts / 15 Comments
April 11th, 2012 / 12:47 pm


Snowflake and Different Streets

Snowflake / different streets
by Eileen Myles
Wave Books, Forthcoming April 2012
232 pages / $20  Pre-order from Wave Books








Eileen Myles’ poetry actively, consciously pursues the tangential thought. In her new dual collection of poems, Snowflake and Different Streets, the text glides into the tangent like she has no sense of return, like she’s just floating.

There is confidence behind the lack of linearity and I follow it happily because the text seems to already know that the tangential thought might just be the more exciting thought or as Eileen Myles might say, “the peach of it.”


February 20th, 2012 / 1:00 pm

A Night With Steve Katz

This Wednesday, October 12, 7–9pm, at the KGB Bar, NYC. Hosted by Louffa Press in celebration of Steve’s new fiction broadside:

The native New Yorker has threatened to bless us with his world of experimental fiction, flying all the way from Denver to woo his audience with tales of personal mishaps with traditional jazz legend Louis Armstrong, plants that grow human body-parts, cautionary tales of the electric fence, the unswerving wisdom of Italian prostitutes and old school New York City.

The broadside (Slave Husbandry) is a limited numbered edition of 50, handprinted on swarthy yet sophisticated recycled artisan paper, inked and pressed on the Vandercook Universal One letterpress. The large format broadsides (19″x12″) will be available at the event for your enjoyment and (italics) for your pleasure.

Also reading will be David Moscovich, Eileen Myles, Ted Pelton, and Mike Topp. It’s free and I wish I could be there. More info about Steve and the other readers after the jump…


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October 10th, 2011 / 12:48 pm

What is Experimental Literature? {Five Questions: Eileen Myles}

Eileen Myles was born in Boston in 1949, attended catholic schools in Arlington, Mass. and graduated from UMass (Boston) in 1971. She came to New York in 1974 to be a poet. She’s the author of eleven books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, the most recent of which is Inferno: A Poet’s Novel (O/R Books).


Random / 10 Comments
June 17th, 2011 / 10:58 am

6 Books: Maggie Nelson on Nonfiction

This is Part III in a series where I ask writers I like for 6 book recommendations according to some loose guideline. Part I is here; Part II is here. This week is another installment on nonfiction, this time brought to us by Maggie Nelson, author of Bluets (Wave Books), the forthcoming The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning (Norton), and five other books of poetry, criticism, and essay.

1. My Parents, Herve Guilbert, trans. Liz Heron
The back of my book calls this a blend of fiction and autobiography; I read it simply as a great example of what some non-Americans would call “life writing.” Guibert—a French writer and photographer who died of AIDS at 36—here gives an astonishingly weird account of how his parents “divided up the ownership of [his] body.” “Something about this story is not right,” he says about his aunt’s faulty account of his circumcision—and indeed, Guibert’s book is blessedly not right in the most compelling of ways.

2. The Importance of Being Iceland: Travel Essays in Art, Eileen Myles
A tour de force of major and minor nonfiction jewels by Myles, one of the world’s most important living writers. Not only a rocking example of what art criticism, or “vernacular scholarship,” could be, but also a radical, casual act of canon/world re-creation, one which includes Nicole Eisenman, Sadie Benning, Peggy Ahwesh, Daniel Day Lewis, Ann Lauterbach, William Pope.L, and Bjork, among others.

3. A Place to Live, and Other Selected Essays of Natalia Ginzburg, trans. Lynne Sharon Schwartz.
I’m utterly entranced by Ginzburg’s style—her mysterious directness, her salutary ability to lay-things-bare that never feels contrived or cold, only necessary, honest, and clear. Her 1944 essay “Winter in the Abruzzi,” a 6-page account of the months she and her family spent in exile, directly before the torture and murder of her husband by Fascist forces in Italy, is a punch-you-in-the-stomach-with-grief-and-beauty masterpiece.

4. Ventrakl, Christian Hawkey
Is Ventrakl nonfiction? “Documentary Poetics”? Who cares—and I would hesitate to cast about for magic-stealing phrases which might detract from Hawkey’s rich investigation of the life and work of German poet Georg Trakl. Hawkey approaches his subjectfrom every angle under the sun, ever-deepening the stakes of identification and translation, ever-reveling in the glory of strange & beautiful language.

Author Spotlight / 31 Comments
May 25th, 2011 / 4:03 pm

cool fun new stuff in NYC

TONIGHT: Eileen Myles / Jon Leon / (our own) Nathaniel Otting

8PM — 390 Seneca Ave. (Entry on Stanhope), Brooklyn, NY


THURSDAY, APRIL 28TH: Brian Kalkbrenner / Dan Hoy / Amy Lawless / Maggie Wells

6:30PM — The Strand, Union Square

best video:


Web Hype / 19 Comments
April 23rd, 2011 / 6:04 pm

On Fandom and Aliens Remaking the World

I am interested in the concept of fandom. Do you have a “fan” kind of relationship with the things you love? I feel like I have a very fan kind of relationship with the things I like, even if the people who make them are “nobodies” to society. I am a fan of random people, people who make beautiful things, people that have what I call the 6th sense—which is a special kind of perception, a special way of seeing or knowing. For example, Bhanu Kapil. I have a list of suspected “aliens”—passionate people that possess certain qualities. Bhanu is on it. Eileen Myles is on it too—I could listen to her talk all day because it’s always like wandering through a very fascinating and specific brain. I guess I don’t understand casual people—people that get enough sleep, people that are regular (as in consistent), people that find it easy to make new friends….

The epic poem that I wrote recently was about trying to find the lost aliens of planet earth, crisscrossing the country on foot in search of the other alien beings. Actually, most of the poem is about obsessively trying to escape through a crack in the sky until I am told by Tupac, who lives in the kingdom in the sky, that I should not try to ascend but should focus on my world—on “this worldliness.” That’s when I start trying to find the lost ones. I chose Tupac because my brothers and I were such big fans as children, and still to this day I think of him as a dynamic figure—tough and sensitive with radical and intellectual tendencies. So Tupac tells me I’ve got it all wrong. He encourages me to redirect my vision. I listened. I stumble upon a mysterious post office in Wyoming that has rows and rows of open postal boxes and I leave letters in the mailboxes knowing that the lost aliens of planet earth are the ones who will reply. We find each other and sing a note real loud and blast all of the beings that are ready to make the new world into the sky. As I am ascending Bjork is below me wearing a big dress while looking at me with tears in her eyes because she is so moved (I was a very big fan of Bjork growing up). One by one, we cross over into a crack that opens in the sky.

Behind the Scenes & Craft Notes & Random / 11 Comments
March 8th, 2011 / 7:43 pm

“…working class intellectuals like big words and their sentence formation is excessively ornate. It’s what they think of as ‘smart.’ Pomposity. It’s an embarrassing condition of being unsophisticated and not knowing what is truly smart which is simplicity and modernism…” —Eileen Myles


Yesterday I posted the trailer for Eileen Myles’s new book. The book looks amazing, although I don’t disagree with Steven Augustine’s comment that the trailer comes off like a teaser for MTV’s 120 Minutes. Still and all, get that book. You can probably buy it from the author herself at next Thursday’s Belladonna/Dusie reading at Brooklyn’s Book Thug Nation. The reading also features: Cara Benson, Mairéad Byrne, Caroline Crumpacker, Susana Gardner and Kate Zambreno.

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