Eileen Myles ran for US President and other true stories

11 August 2016

Originally published in our August newsletter

You may have already read Eileen Myles’ work. You may have heard Lena Dunham raving about their poetry. You may have spotted their cameo appearance or recognised the poet character based on them in Transparent. Either way, ‘New York City’s revered queer punk poet’ has probably shown up in your life one way or another. They have, after all, been on the literary scene since the 1970s, and been called the ‘rock star of modern poetry’ and  ‘one of the savviest and most restless intellects in contemporary literature’.

As if that isn’t enough to take in, Eileen Myles has also run for president – and all these other things, too.

1. Eileen Myles has worked on the Emmy-award winning Amazon series Transparent, acting as a consultant as the show created a character based on them. (The character is played by the veteran Broadway actress Cherry Jones, pictured below.)

Eileen Myles transparent

2. Their next book is about a time-travelling dog – it’s a memoir, but not as we know it. 

3. They tried to write porn for money, being offered $200 per week. ‘I got as far as, “I’ll be there tomorrow,” and then I thought, “I will feel mentally ill if I do this.”

4. They ran as an ‘openly female’ candidate for US President in 1992, against George Bush. Their original mailing list comprised 400 people.

Eileen Myles president

5. Eileen supports Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, saying:

“I just want to see a woman sit in the White House once before this empire falls down. And if a woman brings it down, I think that would be cool. I hope she blows it up.”

6. They were awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2012 for General Non-Fiction. 

7. They toured the country as part of the lesbian, feminist spoken-word/performance-art group Sister Spit.

Eileen Myles sister spit

8. Eileen Myles and Jill Soloway have written a radical feminist manifesto after coming to the conclusion that the porn industry “distributes portrayals of almost exclusively male pleasure and climax’. The manifesto includes a list of demands and one of those demands is that porn made by men be “outlawed for one hundred years.” They also called for a 50-year ban on men creating art such as film, television, poetry, and writing.


topple the patriarchy

 9. They have worked in a factory job in Maine where “The men were all men, and we were all lesbians, and everyone loved to get smashed.”

10. They used to live four floors below Blondie. “I got to New York and there was a band on the fourth floor in my building. And it was Blondie. I started to understand that the people who said they were doing things were actually doing these things now and they were good and they either were culturally important or they would be.”

11. Eileen asks their nephew to call them ‘Uncle Eileen’.

12. They get stopped at airports and asked if they have a penis because of a ‘groin anomaly’ on T.S.A scans.

… and breathe.


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