Inferno (Mouth Cover)

sub-heading:
Winner of the 2010 Lambda Award for Best Lesbian Fiction

“I was completely stupefied by Inferno in the best of ways. In fact, I think I must feel kind of like Dante felt after seeing the face of God.”

—Alison Bechdel
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$12.80

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  • 256 pages
  • Paperback ISBN 9781935928034
  • E-book ISBN 9781935928041
  • Publication 30 November 2010

about the bookabout

From its beginning - “My English professor’s ass was so beautiful.” - to its end - “You can actually learn to have grace. And that's heaven.”-poet, essayist and performer Eileen Myles transmits an energy and vividness that will not soon leave its readers. Their story of a young female writer, discovering both her sexuality and her own creative drive in the meditative and raucous environment that was New York City in its punk and indie heyday, is engrossing, poignant, and funny. This is a voice from the underground that redefines the meaning of the word.


“What is a poem worth? Not much in America. What is a life worth? Inferno isn’t another ‘life of the poet,’ it’s a fugue state where life and poem are one: shameful and glorious. People sometimes say, ‘I came from nothing,’ but that’s not quite right. Myles shows us a ‘place’ a poet might come from, did come from—working class, Catholic, female, queer. This narrative journey somehow takes place in a moment, every moment, the impossible present moment of poetry.”

Rae Armantrout

“Zingingly funny and melancholy, Inferno follows a young girl from Boston in her descent into the maelstrom of New York Bohemia, circa 1968. Myles beautifully chronicles a lost Eden: ‘The place I found was carved out from sadness and sex and to write a poem there you merely needed to gather.’ ”

John Ashbery

“Eileen Myles debates her own self identity in a gruffly beautiful, sure voice of reason. Is she a ‘hunk’? A ‘dyke’? A ‘female’? I’ll tell you what she is—damn smart! Inferno burns with humor, lust and a healthy dose of neurotic happiness.”

John Waters

About The Author / Editor

Eileen Myles came to New York from Boston in 1974 and soon began reading their poems publicly, taking workshops at St. Mark’s Poetry Project in New York’s East Village and publishing in little magazines, zines and larger journals such as Partisan Review and Paris Review. Their books of poems include Not Me, School of Fish and Sorry, Tree. With Liz Kotz, they co-edited the notorious The New Fuck You/adventures in lesbian reading, responding to the short-lived gay and lesbian publishing boom in the ’90s. Their first fiction was Chelsea Girls (1994), followed by Cool for You (a nonfiction novel) in 2000. They directed the writing program at the University of California at San Diego for five years, returning to New York in 2007. In San Diego they wrote the libretto for the opera Hell (composed by Michael Webster), performed in 2004-06. During that time they also wrote much of Inferno. For the last three decades they’ve been writing reviews, articles, essays and blogs, most recently in Art Forum, Parkett, Vice, AnOther Magazine and the Brooklyn Rail. Their essays were collected in The Importance of Being Iceland (2009). In 2010, the Poetry Society of American awarded Myles the Shelley Memorial Award. The same year, they were the Hugo Writer at the University of Montana at Missoula. They live in New York.

in the media

Inferno (Mouth Cover)

sub-heading:
Winner of the 2010 Lambda Award for Best Lesbian Fiction

“I was completely stupefied by Inferno in the best of ways. In fact, I think I must feel kind of like Dante felt after seeing the face of God.”

—Alison Bechdel
$16.00
$12.80

Add to Cart

Adding to cart… The item has been added

about the bookabout

From its beginning - “My English professor’s ass was so beautiful.” - to its end - “You can actually learn to have grace. And that's heaven.”-poet, essayist and performer Eileen Myles transmits an energy and vividness that will not soon leave its readers. Their story of a young female writer, discovering both her sexuality and her own creative drive in the meditative and raucous environment that was New York City in its punk and indie heyday, is engrossing, poignant, and funny. This is a voice from the underground that redefines the meaning of the word.


“What is a poem worth? Not much in America. What is a life worth? Inferno isn’t another ‘life of the poet,’ it’s a fugue state where life and poem are one: shameful and glorious. People sometimes say, ‘I came from nothing,’ but that’s not quite right. Myles shows us a ‘place’ a poet might come from, did come from—working class, Catholic, female, queer. This narrative journey somehow takes place in a moment, every moment, the impossible present moment of poetry.”

Rae Armantrout

“Zingingly funny and melancholy, Inferno follows a young girl from Boston in her descent into the maelstrom of New York Bohemia, circa 1968. Myles beautifully chronicles a lost Eden: ‘The place I found was carved out from sadness and sex and to write a poem there you merely needed to gather.’ ”

John Ashbery

“Eileen Myles debates her own self identity in a gruffly beautiful, sure voice of reason. Is she a ‘hunk’? A ‘dyke’? A ‘female’? I’ll tell you what she is—damn smart! Inferno burns with humor, lust and a healthy dose of neurotic happiness.”

John Waters

About The Author / Editor

Eileen Myles came to New York from Boston in 1974 and soon began reading their poems publicly, taking workshops at St. Mark’s Poetry Project in New York’s East Village and publishing in little magazines, zines and larger journals such as Partisan Review and Paris Review. Their books of poems include Not Me, School of Fish and Sorry, Tree. With Liz Kotz, they co-edited the notorious The New Fuck You/adventures in lesbian reading, responding to the short-lived gay and lesbian publishing boom in the ’90s. Their first fiction was Chelsea Girls (1994), followed by Cool for You (a nonfiction novel) in 2000. They directed the writing program at the University of California at San Diego for five years, returning to New York in 2007. In San Diego they wrote the libretto for the opera Hell (composed by Michael Webster), performed in 2004-06. During that time they also wrote much of Inferno. For the last three decades they’ve been writing reviews, articles, essays and blogs, most recently in Art Forum, Parkett, Vice, AnOther Magazine and the Brooklyn Rail. Their essays were collected in The Importance of Being Iceland (2009). In 2010, the Poetry Society of American awarded Myles the Shelley Memorial Award. The same year, they were the Hugo Writer at the University of Montana at Missoula. They live in New York.

in the media