Inferno: (a Poet's Novel)

Front Cover
OR Books, 2010 - Experimental fiction - 271 pages
Loosely following Dante's epic by fashioning her own riveting account into three distinct parts, Eileen Myles brings her unparalleled brand of raw intellect and insight to her latest novel, The Inferno. The first part of the story, mesmerizing readers with its ripple of memoir, tells the saga (or hell) of a poet girl. The second, on the surface, provides instruction on how to write a poem--but it also pulls a clever bait-and-switch by informing readers how to become a lesbian as well. Myles's exposition of "lesbianity," in fact, includes six pages of female genitalia that rival anything Henry Miller ever produced. The third and final part of the book is a fictional proposal to a funding organization in which the author obliges the foundation's request to supply them with her career narrative, but instead of the tedious sanitized version, she offers a bluntly truthful one. Full of travel disasters, bad readings of wonderful poems, and death, this last section is Myles's Purgatorio--a litany chronicling the career of a poet and her writing life. Myles's rebellious spirit is fully present here as she injects her signature blurring of memoir and fiction, poem and essay, to reinforce her status as one of America's most groundbreaking writers. This eagerly anticipated follow-up to her landmark Cool for You will not disappoint fans of Myles or of modern literature itself.

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About the author (2010)

Eileen Myles is an American poet and writer born on December 9, 1949 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Boston (1971). She moved to New York City in 1974 where she participated in workshops and worked with and for several famous poets. Her career includes working as Artistic Director of St. Mark's Poetry Project, serving as Professor of Writing at the University of California, San Diego, and Visiting Writer at seven colleges. Myles's first book, The Irony of the Leash, was published in 1978. Some of her other work include A Fresh Young Voice From the Plains, Not Me, Inferno, Maxfield Parrish/early and new poems, School of Fish, Skies, On My Way, Snowflake / Different Streets, and The Importance of Being Iceland. She has also written articles, essays, plays and other works of fiction and nonfiction. She founded the Lost Texans Collective with Elinor Nauen and Barbara McKay and performed in group and solo performances. She has received numerous awards for her work. Her latest awards include The Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing (2015) and The Lambda Pioneer Award (2016).

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