Speaking with Poetry Judge Eileen Myles

As our submission period wrap up & we review submissions for our contest period, our genre editors 
Below, Poetry Editor E. Rhōdes speaks with our judge.

ER: How do you incorporate your conception of feminism into your work?

Eileen Myles: Luckily it’s not very conceptual. I was born female and noticed almost immediately that females didn’t get a very good deal. My feminism has been evolving all my life. I definitely wanted to present the figure of the female and even the queer female as being central to a dailiness while not belaboring the identity too much. I’m a boundary shifting author in terms of gender and genre always and I think it’s just an outgrowth of my desire to live and think about what I want.

ER: How do you balance the personal with the political?

EM: I don’t strive for balance. The political seems a natural outgrowth of what I am personally. My opportunities to read and travel continually present me with more information about suffering and struggles all over the world. Gender is often a big piece of the struggle I witness in the world whether it’s in US politics or disabling positions women are confined to in other countries though US is increasingly other.

ER:What are your strategies, and what do you feel is most important when considering these thematic elements?

EM: I’m influenced by what I read, who I meet, and the response to the work I’m doing.

ER:Who are you currently reading?

EM: I just finished Leni Zumas’s Red Clocks, a great great novel. I’m reading a non fiction book Empire of the Summer Moon by SC Gwynne. I live part of the time in west Texas and the Comanches were the tribe that lived here. I read a chapbook by a poet named Alyn Mare called Club Theory I liked a lot. I heard Quinn Latimer read from a book of essays and poems called Like a woman and I’m looking forward to reading that. I’m slowly reading a very dense beautiful radical book called Red White & Black by Frank Wilderson III. I like to read a lot of books at difference paces at once. Reading is all over the place for me. It’s my favorite thing.


Eileen Myles is a poet, novelist, performer and art journalist. Their twenty books include Afterglow (a dog memoir), a 2017 re-issue of Cool for You and I Must Be Living Twice/new and selected poems, and Chelsea Girls. Eileen is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Andy Warhol/Creative Capital Arts Writers grant, four Lambda Book Awards, and the Shelley Prize from the PSA. In 2016, Myles received a Creative Capital grant and the Clark Prize for excellence in art writing. Currently they teach at NYU and Naropa University and live in Marfa TX and New York.

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