Eileen Myles (born 1949) 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. Her experiences range from participation in workshops lead by Alice Notley and Ted Berrigan to interactions with the East Village art scene of the 1980s, and running for President of the United States in 1992. The Importance of Being Iceland: Travel Essays in Art (2009), a collection of essays on art, poetry, and politics, was awarded a Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers grant. Her most recent book, Inferno (a poet’s novel) (OR books, 2010), chronicles the coming-of-age story of a female writer discovering both her sexuality and creative drive in New York City during its punk and indie heyday.
Myles is the author of more than twenty books of poetry and prose, including Chelsea Girls; Cool for You; Sorry, Tree; and Not Me; and is the co-editor of The New Fuck You: Adventures in Lesbian Reading. She contributes to a wide number of publications including Artforum, Parkett, The Believer, Vice, Cabinet, The Nation, Bookforum, and AnOther magazine. She is Professor Emeritus of writing and literature at the University of California, San Diego, where she was head of the writing program from 2002 to 2007. In 2010, the Poetry Society of America awarded Myles the Shelley Prize.