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The Importance of Being Iceland: Travel Essays in Art (Semiotext(e) / Active Agents) Paperback – June 5, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1584350668 ISBN-10: 1584350660

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Product Details

  • Series: Semiotext(e) / Active Agents
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Semiotext(e) (June 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584350660
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584350668
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Eloquent, touching, and often hilarious essays on art, poetry, politics, and 'Eileen' -- a comic character who deserves to be as well known as Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn." Terry Castle Bookforum

" The Importance of Being Iceland brings Myles full circle: She is able to portray evolving LGBT culture and her place in it, while simultaneously enabling the larger world to view us with humor, irony and admiration." Rachel Pepper Curve Magazine

"Myles is a brilliant stylist; she writes in a way that we wish we could talk. Which is why it's so exciting to finally have a great big slab of essays, to observe her language when she's not constrained by the rules of poetry or fiction. We get to hear what she says when she's being herself." Paul Constant The Stranger

"Myles's unique writings on art and culture manage to stay right on target while simultaneously misbehaving." Alan Gilbert The Village Voice

"There's a perfect analogy for the experience of reading Eileen Myles's new book of essays, The Importance of Being Iceland: it's like being at a large and lively dinner party with several of your favorite friends. The food is good, the room is comfortable, and the conversation is witty, feisty, perceptive, even tender. There are moments of digression, moments when the conversation becomes a little choppy, and there's also the fact that all of your dinner companions are variants of Eileen Myles. The overall effect of this book is to leave the reader with a full belly and a refreshed sensibility." Elizabeth Robinson Rain Taxi Review of Books

"These writings confidently wander and always cohere, held together not just by the author's singular intelligence but by her ability to exude personality on the page." Michael Miller TimeOut New York

About the Author

Eileen Myles, named by BUST magazine "the rock star of modern poetry," is the author of more than twenty books of poetry and prose, including Chelsea Girls, Cool for You, Sorry, Tree, and Not Me (Semiotext(e), 1991), and is the coeditor of The New Fuck You (Semiotext(e), 1995). Myles was head of the writing program at University of California, San Diego, from 2002 to 2007, and she has written extensively on art and writing and the cultural scene. Most recently, she received a fellowship from the Andy Warhol/Creative Capital Foundation.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Brian C. Bauman on August 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is a triumph. Don't let the seemingly scattered table of contents fool you. All of the subject matter relates in that it is alive, in the world, available to be considered, argued, enjoyed.

The Importance Of Being Iceland is a treatise, a line in the sand, a breaking-open, a heartbreak and a glittering heart. The essays build a matrix of critique and personal anecdote, creating a portrait of the artist yet also functioning as art, itself. The writing is full of profound observation that cuts through rote academic critique to truly examine and investigate art, artists, and nature of life itself (god that sounds so corny but its true!). I have owned this book only two weeks and I've read it cover to cover twice. It is a work that I will quote, share, re-read, and question for some time. Bravo, Eileen!
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