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Evolution
Cover of Evolution
Evolution
Borrow Borrow
The first all-new collection of poems since 2011's Snowflake/different streets—and following the critically acclaimed Afterglow (a dog memoir), as well as the volume of selected poems, I Must Be Living Twice—here, in Evolution, we find the eminent, exuberant writer at the forefront of American literature, upending genre in a new vernacular that enacts—like nobody else—the way we speak (inside and out) today. Evolution, with its channeling of Quakers, Fresca, and cell phones, radiates vital insight, purpose, and risk, like in these opening lines of the title poem:
Something
unearthly
about
today
so I buy
a Diet Coke &
a newspaper
a version of "me"
something
about me on the
earth & its sneakers
& feeling like
the earth's furniture
but that can't be
true or like
the coke & the Times
it's true for a little
while.
The first all-new collection of poems since 2011's Snowflake/different streets—and following the critically acclaimed Afterglow (a dog memoir), as well as the volume of selected poems, I Must Be Living Twice—here, in Evolution, we find the eminent, exuberant writer at the forefront of American literature, upending genre in a new vernacular that enacts—like nobody else—the way we speak (inside and out) today. Evolution, with its channeling of Quakers, Fresca, and cell phones, radiates vital insight, purpose, and risk, like in these opening lines of the title poem:
Something
unearthly
about
today
so I buy
a Diet Coke &
a newspaper
a version of "me"
something
about me on the
earth & its sneakers
& feeling like
the earth's furniture
but that can't be
true or like
the coke & the Times
it's true for a little
while.
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Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 20, 2018
    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.

  • Library Journal

    September 1, 2018

    "What's the use of being famous," Myles asks at the end of "You," a poem midway through this new collection, which includes a long-form meditation or two on the subject. There's an "acceptance speech" marking the successful end of a decades-long campaign for the U.S. presidency, for instance, and the recounting of a talk Myles gave at the Shaker Museum Feminine Mystique conference in 2017. For a well-known poet nearing 70, fame is a not an unreasonable topic, and it's considered here from many angles. The style here mashes politics writ large (Comey, Trump, the Catholic Church, Palestinian sovereignty, civil/women's/gay rights) and things more intimate (beloved dogs, the last days of Myles's mother), with a restless Myles at the center of everything--incanting in a loud and clear voice: "I think I'm kind of Morissey/ don't you/ though his sweatshirt// wouldn't be so/ cheap/ though he'd/ probably wish/ that it/ was. It's kind of impossible/ to be famous/ and not have /beautiful things./ People always give you their best/..." VERDICT Get in the car and go for a ride with Myles. You'll be entertained--never having to guess what the poet is thinking or where you're being taken.--Iris S. Rosenberg, New York

    Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air, NPR "A mutt elegy in a million . . . Myles gets at something no other dog book I've read has gotten at quite this distinctly: The sense of wordless connection and spiritual expansion you feel when you love and are loved by a creature who's not human."
  • New York Times Book Review "Playful, heartfelt, wise, compassionate, fantastical and audaciously confessional."
  • New Yorker "A wry, gorgeous, psychedelic effort to plumb the subject of dog-human partnership . . . Afterglow is like the Just Kids of dog books."
  • Boston Globe "Cosmic, and charming . . . far-flung, and wonderfully loving."
  • Bookforum "An ever-deepening investigation into the nature of human-being-ness, self-knowledge, and knowing things outside of yourself."
  • O Magazine "Part elegy, part meditation . . . poignant, sweeping."
  • Rolling Stone "Fantastical . . . wrenching."
  • Village Voice "[An] exquisite slapstick tragedy . . . a radical memoir."
  • Buzzfeed "Tender, lyrical."
  • Los Angeles Review of Books "Gritty, naturalistic . . . like a good grunge song."
  • Literary Hub "Extraordinary . . . brings language to the nonverbal intimacy of a human life lived with a dog."
  • Vice "Wild and unruly . . . lively, conversational, and highly intelligent."
  • Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "A perfect example of what happens when you mix raw language with emotion, pets with loss, and sexuality with socioculturalism."
  • Library Journal (starred review) "A rare new breed of dog memoir; think Patti Smith's Just Kids, not Josh Grogan's Marley and Me, absinthe not saccharine."
  • Booklist (starred review) "Poetic, heartrending, soothing, and funny."
  • Publishers Weekly "Myles depicts the raw pathos of loss with keen insight."
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    Grove Atlantic
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Evolution
Evolution
Eileen Myles
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