About the Book

Cool for You

Cool for You

September 2008
Trade Paperback · 208 Pages
$14.95 U.S. · £9.99 U.K. · €10.99 E.U.
ISBN 9781593762100
Soft Skull Press


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Cool for You’s tough-girl narrator wants to be an astronaut. Instead, she becomes a poet and journeys through a series of low-end schools, pathetic jobs, and unmade beds. Schooled by mean and memorable Catholic nuns, this tomboy heroine stumbles and dreams her way through the painful corridors of family, early sexual encounters, and an eye-opening series of jobs caring for the sick and insane—the abandoned wards of the state. This is a book hell-bent on telling the truth about poor women, and how they do (and do not) get out of the hands of their families and the state. Without artifice or pseudonym, protagonist Eileen Myles boldly sets down a rich and graphic account of female experience in this world.

About the Author

EILEEN MYLES gave her first reading in New York at CBGB's in 1974. Because of the immediacy of her poems (and stories) she has come to be recognized as the quintessential alternative female poet/writer. Her first fiction collection Chelsea Girls (1994) is a classic of the female demi-monde, followed up in 2000 by her institutional saga, Cool for You, for which the New York Times dubbed her “a cult figure to a generation of post-punk females forming their own literary avant garde.” Her poems and novels are widely anthologized and taught in writing and cultural studies departments around the world. A film has been made of her “hit poem,” “An American Poem,” and it continues to show on public television and in festivals. Eileen came to the city after college in Boston, read at the Nuyorican Café and quickly gaining the friendship of Allen Ginsberg, worked as assistant to Pulitzer prize winning poet James Schuyler, became a habitue of the household of Ted Berrigan and Alice Notley and generally being a notable part of the turbulent punk and art scene that animated Manhattan's East Village. In 1992 she conducted an openly female write-in campaign for President of the United States.

Myles's plays, libretti, and performances ranging from Joan of Art/a spiritual entertainment (1979) and Our Sor Juana (1994) to more recent projects all draw large audiences and praise both in New York and across the country for decades and her recent libretti for the opera Hell played to packed houses on both coasts (and soon in Europe) in multiple productions since 2004. Always, Eileen remains a virtuoso performer of her own writing reading in international festivals and colleges, performance spaces, and bookstores across North America and throughout Europe, Iceland, and Russia. Her writing has been translated into Rumanian, Polish, Spanish, German, Icelandic, Yiddish, Russian, and Italian. Her books include Skies, (2001), on my way, (2001), Cool for You, (2000), School of Fish, (1997), Maxfield Parrish, (1995), Not Me, (1991.)