Eileen Myles: TOP TEN BOOKS


Courtesy of Shae Detar

Eileen Myles, the poet and “loudmouthed lesbian, which means mainstream invisible,” as she described herself to the New York Times, is hardly invisible anymore — when the character of Cherry Jones is based on you in a Golden Globe-winning series (Transparent), invisibility tends to fall away. Combine the current recognition with a 1992 presidential race (Myles ran as an “openly female” write-in candidate), 19 books, four Lambda Book Awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Andy Warhol/Creative Capital Arts Writers grant, chances are Myles won’t fall out of the spotlight any time soon.

Below are Eileen Myles’s favorite books, available to purchase as a set or individually.


Under the Glacier

Halldor Laxness
It’s like Iceland’s great novelist won a Nobel prize and went to Hollywood and then came home and wrote about how weird Iceland is having really seen the world. Laxness always writes about nature like a visionary.
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Maud Martha

Gwendolyn Brooks
It’s one of the most spatially poetic novels ever. Each room Maud Martha lives in is grown by the very cautious and awesome pace of her language.
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The Book of Frank

Conrad’s mysterious American haiku are inky and dirty and disturbing and finally madly dancing on its one good leg forever. This book is a total masterpiece.
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Supplication: Selected Poems of John Wieners

John Wieners
The Hotel Wentley poems are nested in here, and they are the most grandly erotic and heartfelt homosexual sketches about living out of time in friendship on the edge, and seeing the whole trembling picture of mid century America from there.
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Winter in the Blood

James Welch
This novel proves there is no greater altered state than a hangover, and poet novelist Welch has the surrealist chops to prove it.
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Rose of No Man’s Land

Michelle Tea
Michelle is our real Charles Dickens, and this small novel is working class perfection itself: in a mall, young, gay, punk, and in love for the first time.
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Jan Morris
Her woman is shockingly conventional, yet to read this great travel writer’s account of transition is to understand the word “journey” truly.
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Selected Poems

Medbh McGuckian
Ireland’s best living poet is a shimmering candle of a catholic, and a fiercely female, starkly domestic shaman of the first order. Each time I read Medbh McGuckian she reorders my brain.
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The Master and Margarita

Mikhail Bulgakov
Bulgakov’s suffering under censorship yielded this sparkling novel in which Pontius Pilate shares space with a giant floating black cat, and elsewhere a man confined to a mental hospital for political reasons probably dreamed up the whole thing.
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Djuna Barnes
This is like a dark lesbian genius rolling in a giant heap of damp, dead leaves. What a great, shaking, grieving party this book is — the best.
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