Pure Poetry #2: Eileen Myles

Pure Poetry Week:

#1 – 2/23/2011 – Def Poetry Jam, by Riese
#2 – 2/23/2011 – Eileen Myles, by Carmen

I met Eileen Myles on Autostraddle, which was a good sign. My first thought at meeting her was that I had to leave this class I was in because oh my god I found this poet. Eileen knew everything, and her poetry felt genuine. I always feel when I read an Eileen Myles poem that I am getting to know her so much better.

My first Eileen Myles poem said this and was called “Smile”:

time he smiled he thought Eileen
is a fool. Or that’s what love looks

Somewhere between that day and today, the day you let me talk about Eileen Myles, I left class and bought a leather bomber jacket and bought Skies. I had also developed an ebay addiction. Skies is a collection of poems. It was really cheap on ebay. The day after it arrived, I packed a bag and left home. I packed Skies. I didn’t want to lose it so I carried it with me.

That night I ended up at a close friend who also writes for Autostraddle‘s house. At the end of the night it was my two friends and I and Eileen. I read Skies to them.

When I put Skies in my backpack I put away a photograph inside of someone I thought I was losing. I knew it would be safe there because I was going to keep Skies on my bedside table. It seemed cute, just her and I and Eileen.


Soon I had bought Sorry, Tree and The New Fuck You: An Adventure in Lesbian Reading which wasn’t written by Eileen, but she edited it and I knew she’d have good taste. And I took Cool for You out of the library… and renewed it. I saved up for Inferno.

Every time I read a new Eileen Myles book, I end up carrying it on me for weeks. I think I’m going to end up with a good collection. I would never lose it.

“in a few
days you’ll
be shaped
by this
& a new


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Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 919 articles for us.


  1. I love you too
    don’t fuck up my hair
    I can’t believe
    you almost fisted me
    That was great.


      • I love you too
        don’t fuck up my chickens
        I can’t believe
        you almost fisted me
        in the red wheel
        That was great.

        • This made me chuckle aloud in my Constitutional Morality course at a really inappropriate time…now people are really confused on my position on same-sex marriage and religious liberty.

          I look forward to listening to this. thank you.

        • This is just to say
          I have eaten
          the babies
          that were in
          the icebox
          and which
          you were probably
          for breakfast
          Forgive me
          they were delicious
          so sweet
          and so cold
          (I cannot claim credit for this. I need to go search through the bowels of the internet again to find where I first encountered this version)

    • the poem “bone” appears in skies and is my absolute favorite thing in the world. also on page 93 is the poem i excerpt at the end, 44th st station i think? it’s the page i put the photograph in. you’ll know why.

  2. I feel the exact same way I have all of her books and compilations including the new fuck you ( which as you said she edited. They are constantly amazing me everytime i read them I feel like im sitting having coffee with her and I dont know if its me picking what I want out of her poetry and novels but she makes me understand myself so much and in general it helps me through alot. I havent bought or found inferno here yet but I’m destined to read it sometime soon :D. Eileen is great she is like my voice that says just do it! and she gives confidence in myself I like it alot. Im super shy and anxious so Eileen feels like my big sister. In short she rocks and her writings are soooo important. La fin.


  3. just saw that you were the author, Carmen. Check out Bridge Street books in Georgetown – you just missed Eileen on the 4th, she usually stops in a few times a year.

  4. I love that feeling when you discover something new and it makes so much sense and seems to be talking right to you and makes you feels all these things at once and you can’t sit still because you just want to get up and do something with it.

    I will look for ‘Skies’ now. thank you.

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