cover image I Must Be Living Twice: New and Selected Poems 1975–2014

I Must Be Living Twice: New and Selected Poems 1975–2014

Eileen Myles. Ecco, $26.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-06-238908-4

Spanning 10 books and four decades, this selected volume solidifies Myles’s reputation as both an underground star and a major force in contemporary poetry. Myles (Snowflake/Different Streets) often traffics in intimate and autobiographical details, providing an opportunity for the personal to spread across questions of poetics, class, and urbanity, among others. Her early poems often lingered in the consciousness for decades, finding small but devoted audiences yet dismissed by the mainstream, not in small part because of their direct engagement with her life as a queer, working-class woman. Myles’s poetic performance is complex, though it can appear deceptively simple. This is especially true of her many poems consisting of short lines that rush forward with beautifully casual, chatty language, and characteristic humor, insight, and surprise: “It is a miracle/ that I should speak/ to delight you./ I feel like a flag/ more or less/ but music is my breeze/ I have many friends/ rest assured.” The pleasures of Myles’s poetry multiply with each successive reading. This volume includes many out-of-print poems as well as new work and a brief 2014 essay by Myles on her poetics. Readers will be thrilled not only that this old work is available again, but that the new work is as impressive as ever. [em](Oct.) [/em]