On Style, Eileen Myles

Rachel’s Team Pick:

So do you know about Emily Books? It is Emily Gould’s newest project, possibly the future? Basically you can subscribe, and every month you’ll download a book, with the understanding that this book will possibly/probably be amazing, because it’s curated by smart, great women with excellent taste. Guess what this month’s book is? You may remember it from another book club: it’s Eileen Myles’ Inferno!

That is really neat in and of itself! But it gets neater: Riese wrote about it! For you! And the whole internet. You are going to love it. That’s all. I just wanted you to know.

She has this idea that knowing herself could be a job, that being a poet is a job. Nobody wants to pay you for that at first. So you hustle to make money to buy yourself time to write. But how I feel reading Eileen Myles is that the hustle doesn’t just enable the writing, the hustle is part of the writing. The humility.That experience… But this is a big problem for women, obviously, making poetry a job. There’s the money thing ‘cause everyone has an opinion about your budget and thinks you’re audacious for wanting to get paid to write. Generally speaking, also, most people think you’re sort of silly, especially if you’re a girl writing about yourself. Who wants to listen to a woman talk about herself! Why doesn’t she just get a job at a bank. Eileen Myles wrote a thing called Being Female for The Awl, where she says, “Is writing a job. Writing books, writing poems. If it is then the message to women is to go elsewhere.”

You should read it. This is your job.

VIA sianlilemakes.blogspot.com

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. You can also buy the books one at a time, if you don’t want to make a commitment to an entire year! Just the schoolmarm in me sayin’.

  2. This project sounds like such a good idea. So many good books at the start of the last century were published by subscription — it’s how the Woolfs’ Hogarth Press worked initially, and it strikes me as a great publishing model. Unfortunately Emily books is not available outside the US.

  3. I love this essay and now want to read Myles’ book and maybe paste quotes from both on my desk and walls.

    Writing has always been my dream, my calling, but I was always too worried about being broke and without a job or stable life. So I tried to go “safer” paths. Now I’m broke and without a job or stability anyway, even after working hard and doing everything “right”. So fuck it, why not write? What do I have to lose?

  4. This sounds awesome, but I was kinda hoping that it was going to be fashion style tips from Eileen Myles

  5. I may have to take the owner of the bookstore I work at up on his offer to buy staff eReaders just so we know how to help customers with them…

  6. I want to be Eileen Myles when I grow up. Also, I really, really, really need that t-shirt.

  7. “Eileen Myles has that butch thing where she can play boys’ games and have boy attitude but her heart is so female. It’s killer. I mean she’ll just slay you. I wanna be more like Eileen Myles.”

    you know i didn’t know other people felt this strongly about eileen myles but i guess that was dumb of me. i love this much more than words can say. also nobody has ever put it so simply. the heart is so female. I LOVE IT.


  8. THIS ESSAY. this essay combines at least 4 of my most favorite topics: autostraddle @ dinah shore, that t-shirt, riese’s inner monologue and saturn return.

  9. this essay is incredible; i read it earlier today from intern grace’s tumblr and i’ve been thinking about it all day. riese, this is brilliant.

  10. “Eileen Myles, like some other women I know who grew up not understanding why everyone treated them like girls, has that thing men have where they pop out of the womb already feeling important and necessary.”


  11. i actually cannot stop reading this essay and can’t wait until after work tomorrow when i will have money to purchase/subscribe. REALLY I’M SO EXCITED.

  12. also, on a less gushy note, this sounds like exactly the type of thing i’ve been looking for. i know we got accused of misandry recently, and this probably won’t contribute to the argument against that, but i’m really fucking tired of men’s voices in contemporary autobiographical creative nonfiction whatever sounding so self-congratulatory and entitled to being heard. it’s refreshing (understatement) to know that a woman writer can have swagger like that without being sorry.

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