Legendary Poet Eileen Myles’s New Book Is ‘a Dog Memoir’
Sitting in her living room with legs crossed, ankle to knee, Eileen Myles is energetically grounded. It’s a one-room studio apartment in New York’s downtown Lower East Side. There’s a bathtub in the kitchen. Later, she tells me, she’s lived here for 40 years.
Socks and underwear spill out of a suitcase and onto the floor around us, betraying the fact that Myles got back last night from Marfa, Texas where the writer splits her time. There are also stacks of her new book, Afterglow, the cover a black-and-white photograph of the writer posed on a stool, the spotted face of a pitbull next to her feet. The canine, as well as the 15 years Myles shared with her pet, is the subject (and sometimes narrator) of her newest book, “a dog memoir,” out today. It’s in the late pitbull’s voice that she christens the 90s “such a lesbian moment for dogs.”
For decades, Myles has been a mainstay of New York’s poetry scene. She’s authored 20 books, launched a presidential campaign, and won a Guggenheim Fellowship. Still, articles about her tend to fall into platitudes, anointing the poet cooler than you, an avatar of supreme coolness, and the epitome of cool. In recent years, millions have seen her poems (and a character modeled after her) on her ex Jill Soloway’s show Transparent. At the same time, Myles continues to frequent downtown New York art galleries, reading her work, supporting her peers, and generally cruising the scene.
Myles picks up a copy of the hardcover book. “Look at the binding,” she says, gesturing to show me a small image of Rosie’s face on the book jacket spine. “It’s so corny but great.”