Eileen Myles. Grove, $25 (256p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2850-8
Myles (Afterglow) returns to familiar themes in her latest collection, ruminating on sex and intimacy, dogs, politics, and New York City. The collection opens with a speech that Myles delivered at a 2017 conference on female spirituality in which the poet recalls protesting the exclusion of LGBTQ marchers from the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade: “I never realized how outside I was until I realized they wouldn’t let me in.” From there, Myles moves into verse, with short, highly enjambed lines evoking a flowing stream-of-consciousness. Myles relentlessly questions, analyzes, and even loathes the self, combining fanciful reveries with non sequitur in the New York School style: “I brought/ my chalice/ up right to/ the fountain/ hi Alice/ and I drank.” The poems express a forlorn weariness of contemporary politics, including the collapse of the Occupy movement and the Trump campaign’s “Russian stuff.” Myles effectively brings vague feelings into sharp relief with surprising imagery (“If I get/ this little/ sleep/ I’m butter/ pulling/ the greasy/ details/ over everything”) and lighter moments of mockery reveal the contradictions in human behavior, such as mentioning a compliment received at the gym and simultaneously chiding an ex-lover for retweeting similar praise. Myles has long excelled at capturing outsiderness, and feelings of being lost and misunderstood are plenty evident here. Agent: PJ Mark, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/20/2018
Release date: 09/01/2018
Genre: Fiction
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