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Chelsea Girls

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  269 ratings  ·  25 reviews
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, remains a classic of the female demimonde. Chelsea Girls collects many of Myles's prose works--stories that are full of vehemen ...more
Paperback, 276 pages
Published May 1st 1994 by Black Sparrow Books (first published January 1st 1994)
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Community Reviews

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I really love lesbians. I'm not sure why this is. It's not that I love them all -- there are plenty of lousy lesbians out there -- but for some reason a person being a lesbian improves my chances of liking her by maybe a factor of five. I feel like lesbians often have a good perspective on things. Many are good at being self-aware without being self-absorbed. There might be something about being a lesbian that improves people's personalities, or maybe girls with good heads on their shoulders win ...more
Larry-bob Roberts
Finally read the book. A series of short autobiographical pieces. I wasn't getting into it too much at first, but eventually something clicked and I got into it. I guess I didn't know what I was getting into but once I realized not to expect plot but rather narrative. This looks to be a big influence on the Sister Spit generation of confessional lesbian narrative. Like a lot of writers who are now sober, there are a lot of pieces about when she was drinking and using; do people's lives become le ...more
It was okay, but not especially great. I expected more from it and well that's usually an ez-pass lane to disappointment.
Mar 22, 2007 Sara rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: katrina
Generally I prefer her poetry. But in this book of prose I especially liked the stories that address her father. (And they are also some of the most powerful in her poetry.) In the story "My Father's Alcoholism" she writes, "There was a clear line from him to my dream world and back. My father insisted from the get go that he was in the same frame as me. He elbowed his way into my consciousness." & "Childhood is wide and impersonal."
I read this a long time ago and took some notes. Another g
Super good. I was initially put off by the insanely long paragraphs, but I like pretty much everything Eileen Myles does and once I got into the rhythm of her prose this was a tough, rewarding book that shows you can be smart and poetic and high-falutin' without burying your feelings or history under academic clappity-crap. To make this as simple as I know how, this book is stylistically innovative but still real talk. It's wicked good. Read it.
i think if i would re-read this collection of memoir-esque vignettes by Eileen Myles, i would probably read one a week, out of order until i was finished. Then each one would stand on its own and be able to to savored or scorned by its own merits. Unfortunately, i read it pretty much cover to cover (well, almost, couldn't quite finish it) and honestly became quite bored with it. At times brutal, hilarious, fierce, blase, superficial, a well of unending sadness, these glimpses of life, of lives, ...more
Some real gems in here... reminds me of the stuff I was into in the early 90s. I'd like to pick this one up again sometime.
I read it in one or two gulps. A bit difficult to get into, with its fractured chronology and mosaic effects. But some really great turns. Myles is so soft-shoe in her effects, footing her way through Boston adolescence and young adulthood, New York in the 70s. Mapplethorpe, Schuyler, Notley (?) have their turns. But she's really observant about herself and her lovers, her friend, about the ordinary follies of bohemian poverty. Sisterhood.

i really couldn't get through the first few pages. her style is okay, kind of the rambly prose that i appreciate once in a while. i guess there was just no personality there to charm me into keeping on. i even flipped to the middle of the book before i gave up to see if it was different but it was still just drugs. women. blah blah.
Meg Powers
So far, it is pretty difficult for me to relate to someone who is a self identified loser who is (paraphrasing a self-proclomation) only good at writing poetry and getting drunk. I'm also getting impatient with the lack of punctuation and sprawling, self-interrupting sentences. WE'LL SEE

Noriyuko 'Pat'
Myles's greatest book? Funny, wry, intellgent...brings up all the issues (race, class, sex, gender etc) with grace and humor...the LANGUAGE Myles uses is consistently interesting...even (weirdly enough) approaching the practically abstract minimalist style of Hemingway....great for NY poetry gossip as well!
Matty B
In this book Eilleen Myles succeeds in making memorable prose portrayals of taking acid and walking around NYC getting free spagetti when you are really hungry and moving in with and being lovers with two people that are married to eachother.
i purchased this book because it was printed by black sparrow press and the title intrigued me. i had no idea i would be launched into autobiographical lesbian short prose. insightful, but not too revealing stories, with something sad at the core.
Oh my god. This is a such great book. It took over my life, and informed the way I was feeling going around in the world. That is what I want more of. It made me feel that whatever is happening with me is fine. It's okay to be a fuck-up.
Sep 08, 2008 Lollo is currently reading it
shit. this book was stolen from me at the beach! and i was borrowing it! and it is out of print...i had to order it online. still waiting as i ordered myself a copy, a piece of herstory.
Hmm. Eileen Myles makes me feel nervous. I'm giving her another try, I read "cool for you" and liked it, but not a lot. So here goes.
mr. kate
I read this when I moved from Boston to NYC...and it is about Boston and NYC. This book is what made me love Eileen Myles.
"I lay on the bed, fascinated by the acrid taste of piss, yet horrified at the inadequacies
of my tape collection."
A series of good stories about Catholic queer childhood, dykey young adulthood, poetryland.
One of my favorite books. Each story another little slice of experience.
Jan 17, 2009 Gloss rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: queer
Blows my mind, every single time I read it.
Tragically glamorous & inspiring.
Party and bullshit.
Kristine Roan
Filthy and brave.
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Eileen Myles (born 1949, Cambridge, Massachusetts) is probably America's best-known unofficial poet. Her latest book is Sorry, Tree in which she describes “some nature” as well as the transmigration of souls from the east coast to the west. Bust Magazine calls Myles "the rock star of modern poetry" and Holland Cotter in The New York Times describes her as "a cult figure to a generation of post-pun ...more
More about Eileen Myles...
Inferno (a poet's novel) Cool for You Sorry, Tree The Importance of Being Iceland: Travel Essays in Art Not Me (Semiotext(e) / Native Agents)

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