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SOLD OUT: An Evening with Eileen Myles

Sunday, May 21 2023
6:30 doors
$10 advance
$12 day of show
$36 with copy of "a 'Working Life'"
$2 off for members (SPACE or MWPA)

“One of the essential voices in American poetry” (New York Times), the legendary poet, author and art journalist Eileen Myles makes their SPACE debut on the release of a new book, a “Working Life,” their first collection of poems since 2018.

Reading/performance followed by discussion and audience Q&A facilitated by Jan Bindas-Tenney, provided with support from Maine Humanities Council. Co-presented by Back Cove Books and Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance.

Eileen Myles in their own words:

What is the poetry equivalent of sitting on a chair like a musician with just a guitar, or a comedian on a stool on the cover of an album not even standup, but just going to tell it to you right here on vinyl. For me, a “Working Life” is not so much unplugged as openly admitting that the poems here, the love poems and the waiting poems and the reveling in stark slowed down time is the essence of poetry as much as it was in my 20s as it is in in my 70s, like a grand contractual permission to be and the poems are the plan. a “Working Life” is a book in which I throw my cards down, meaning the poems pretty much model the existence that is unfolding in all of them and these little formulas, short and long in which the plan gets revealed again and again was always to live exactly like this, and just once, now. I’m hoping the reader picks it up and feels it’s true.

Eileen Myles (b. 1949, they/them) is a poet, novelist and art journalist whose practice of vernacular first-person writing has has made them one of the most recognized writers of their generation. Pathetic Literature, which they edited, came out in Fall of ’22. Their newest collection of poems, a “Working Life”, is out now. Their fiction includes Chelsea Girls (1994) which just won France’s Inrockuptibles Prize for best foreign novel, Cool for You (2000), Inferno (a poet’s novel) (2010) and Afterglow (2017). Writing on art was gathered in the volume The Importance of Being Iceland: Travel Essays in Art (2009). Books of poetry include Evolution (2018) and I Must Be Living Twice: New and Selected Poems 1975-2014. Their super-8 road film “The Trip” is on YouTube. They live in New York & in Marfa, TX.

Praise for a “Working Life”:

“It is important to stay happy, to maintain daily reminders of goodness and wonder, and in a ‘Working Life’, Eileen Myles helps us do just that. With their streamlined style and singular devotion to mundane wonder, they show how life can still be surprising despite the inevitability we may feel each day. Contradictions and coincidences, joy and despair, the intricacies of life and death are all captured in these brief, fleeting poems, told in tight verse and with some lines only a word long. They reflect how quickly time goes by and how each second provides something deep and new, creating an infinite loop of meaning—a message that is helpful and frustrating, uplifting and perplexing. Really, it’s life.”—BookPage

Praise for Eileen Myles:

“Myles’s poems set a bar for openness, frankness, and variability few lives could ever match . . . Now Myles is older than [Robert] Lowell when he died, and enjoying [their] greatest moment of accomplishment and fame. [Myles’s] very presence in the world is a form of activism, but [their] work, when studied with care, is also political in the sense that it gives evidence of one of the richest and most conflicted human hearts you’re likely to find.”—Dan Chiasson, New York Review of Books 

“Choreography’s calligraphic touch: Bill T. Jones, Jackson Pollock, Eileen Myles. [Myles] moves so generously, stays so lightly, has so openly found and crafted life, as ceremony, every day, it’s as if [their] hands and feet trail sonic pigment, chromatic grammar, so that the earth is constantly refreshed by the poems as [they] step and caress, with ear’s utmost care, as curate of our common experiment, our undercommon experience.”—Fred Moten

“In Eileen Myles’s newest book of poetry, Evolution, we encounter an arrival, a voice always becoming, unpinnable and queer. Myles’s new poems are transformations, and perhaps a culmination of the poet’s previous inquiries into love, gender, poetry, America, and its politics . . . The form of Myles’s work rivals its subject matter in intimacy. The lines in Evolution are physical, a body unleashed but not yet comfortable and not without fear. The short lines rush down the page, movement as touch, touch as freedom.”—Natalie Diaz, New York Times Book Review