Afterglow (a Dog Memoir) by Eileen Myles

Afterglow (a Dog Memoir)

Prolific and widely renowned, Eileen Myles is a trailblazer whose decades of literary and artistic work "set a bar for openness, frankness, and variability few lives could ever match" (New York Review of Books). This newest book paints a kaleidoscopic portrait of a beloved confidant: the pit bull called Rosie. In 1990, Myles chose Rosie from a litter on the street, and the...

Title:Afterglow (a Dog Memoir)
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Afterglow (a Dog Memoir) Reviews

  • sarah  corbett morgan

    I'm only half way through this memoir, but...wow! Imagine a poet writing about a dog, a beloved dog that has to be put down. Imagine the dog's perspective in all this. Innovative structure, beautiful writing; all in all a stunning work of genius. What. a. fantastic. book.

    Update, now that I've finished. There are riffs of gorgeous prose, a poet's ear for what is real/true. There are also places where Myles lost me completely. Her discussion of writing as foam, for instance. I was hanging in there

    I'm only half way through this memoir, but...wow! Imagine a poet writing about a dog, a beloved dog that has to be put down. Imagine the dog's perspective in all this. Innovative structure, beautiful writing; all in all a stunning work of genius. What. a. fantastic. book.

    Update, now that I've finished. There are riffs of gorgeous prose, a poet's ear for what is real/true. There are also places where Myles lost me completely. Her discussion of writing as foam, for instance. I was hanging in there for a bit and then it went all molecular on me and I couldn't figure out where she was going with it. The foam metaphor repeats itself.

    I found, like much poetry, I could not read this book straight through; I needed time to rest in between dense passages of both grief and Myles' stream of consciousness about her life. Worth reading but...hard.

  • Cat

    I'm conflicted about this book. Parts of it just seem heartless... I've lost beloved pets through the years and my heart still aches when I really think about them. The grief just doesn't seem to be in this book for me. I don't mean to say the author didn't grieve her pet, I am sure she did (I cried for weeks after the loss of each of my pet children). I will finish the book, but just not right now.

  • Rebecca Foster

    I wish this had been published without the subtitle, or with a more cagey one (like “Notes towards a Dog Memoir” or “A Sort of Dog Memoir”). If what you want is a straightforward dog memoir, read

    by Mark Doty and

    by Eileen Battersby, both excellent examples of the genre. The time that Myles, known primarily as a poet and queer theorist, had with her pit bull Rosie between 1990 and 2006 is less the substance of this book than a jumping-off point for a jumbled set of remini

    I wish this had been published without the subtitle, or with a more cagey one (like “Notes towards a Dog Memoir” or “A Sort of Dog Memoir”). If what you want is a straightforward dog memoir, read

    by Mark Doty and

    by Eileen Battersby, both excellent examples of the genre. The time that Myles, known primarily as a poet and queer theorist, had with her pit bull Rosie between 1990 and 2006 is less the substance of this book than a jumping-off point for a jumbled set of reminiscences and imagined scenarios.

    Myles sometimes writes as Rosie, and sometimes to Rosie; one particularly unusual chapter has Rosie being interviewed by a puppet. The author milks the god/dog connection for all it’s worth, and suggests (seriously, I think) that Rosie was the reincarnation of her father. The style is playful, sometimes a stream of consciousness with lots of run-on sentences and paragraphs that read like prose poems. As long as the dog was the main subject I was with Myles, but there was so much that seemed extraneous: a trip to Ireland, a lecture on foam (?) given at the San Diego Women’s Center, and extended thoughts about mailmen.

    Perhaps if I’d read something else by Myles previously I would have had a better idea of what I was getting into. Enjoyable enough, but weird, and not what I was expecting from the marketing.

    [An odd connection from my recent reading: In

    , Maggie Nelson writes, “My feeling is, you should be so lucky to get a pizza in the face from Eileen Myles”.]

  • Leigh

    what a book. magic. never read anything like it. some sections I need to go back and spend more time with, were harder to understand. the structure and theme of story as tapestry really worked for me. well worth a second read.

  • Lisa

    I think a lot of the time poets' prose efforts can be so packed that they're by nature uneven—I guess you can say the same for poetry as well. That's definitely the case with this book, and honestly I get the feeling that Myles would be just fine with the idea of taking what you want and leaving the rest. Some of it is just gorgeous, lyrical, madly associative and evocative. And some of it is just too dense or esoteric for the likes of me, and I was perfectly happy to read along and let some of

    I think a lot of the time poets' prose efforts can be so packed that they're by nature uneven—I guess you can say the same for poetry as well. That's definitely the case with this book, and honestly I get the feeling that Myles would be just fine with the idea of taking what you want and leaving the rest. Some of it is just gorgeous, lyrical, madly associative and evocative. And some of it is just too dense or esoteric for the likes of me, and I was perfectly happy to read along and let some of it settle to the bottom in order for the stuff that resonated for me to rise.

    Although she definitely stretches the definition of "a dog memoir," there is some marvelous writing on dogs, and about dog ownership in particular—both the intense scrutiny that's borne out of love and also the dilemma of all that tenderness and adoration weighed against the wrongness of leading another living being around by the neck. I love Myles's directness, often bordering on crudeness, and the love that shines through it all for her Rosie—"the physiognomy of dearness unsurpassed." This one takes a little suspension of the need to get every sentence, but the rewards are great.

  • Michelle

    Afterglow (a dog memoir) written by celebrity poet Eileen Myles is a heartfelt loving tribute to Rosie, her Pitbull Terrier that lived for nearly 17 years. Whether readers are familiar with Myles writing style or poetry, Myles captures a sensitive unique flair and a meaningful creative writing combination she is recognized for.

    Caring for an elderly incontinent dog—the endless cycle of washing and laundering is nearly impossible to keep up with. Myles resisted the notion to put Rosie down, though

    Afterglow (a dog memoir) written by celebrity poet Eileen Myles is a heartfelt loving tribute to Rosie, her Pitbull Terrier that lived for nearly 17 years. Whether readers are familiar with Myles writing style or poetry, Myles captures a sensitive unique flair and a meaningful creative writing combination she is recognized for.

    Caring for an elderly incontinent dog—the endless cycle of washing and laundering is nearly impossible to keep up with. Myles resisted the notion to put Rosie down, though towards the end of Rosie’s life Myles is naturally suffering tremendously along with Rosie. Myles lovingly cares for Rosie, filming her in an endless loop, she reads her poetry: (from the book)… “”I read for Rosie that night. Read every poem she was in. Not that she needed it. She did not need poetry. She was it, mainstay of my liturgy for 16.5 almost 17 years.”

    Myles wrote about her extremely busy professional career and life—the time spent traveling away from home, unhappy lovers/girlfriends over her inability to remain at home for longer times, and teaching at the University of San Diego (2002). The war in Iraq was taking place, (2005) and the Bush administration was addressing the issues with Abu Ghraib; and readers learned more about Myles upbringing in Ireland.

    Rosie had her own distinctive voice in the book, referring to Myles as “Jethro”. A letter from Rosie’s attorney arrived, Rosie appeared in a puppet troupe from the after-life and other occasions throughout the book-- bringing solace and comfort to her master Jethro. It was difficult to ascertain if Rosie was there or if she wasn’t; according to Myles. There was so much silence. We can’t know if Rosie was reincarnated as Myles father--who in Ireland, was a mailman. This could be considered as magical thinking, as we feel sympathetic and the depth of sadness Myles experienced in the loss of her beloved pet. **With thanks to the Seattle Public Library.

  • Sassafras Lowrey

    Eileen Myles writes about her dog? Obviously I had to read this one right away. This is a book of dogs and grief. It is a book of loss, and kinship and what happens if dogs wrote us poetry and letters. There were stories that made me (as an admittedly neurotic dog person ) uncomfortable, and stories about the end, about aging, failing bodies, and passing, that made my heart clench (while I anxiously pet my ancient canine sidekick).

    "Each writer is required to tell a dog's story and so dogs attac

    Eileen Myles writes about her dog? Obviously I had to read this one right away. This is a book of dogs and grief. It is a book of loss, and kinship and what happens if dogs wrote us poetry and letters. There were stories that made me (as an admittedly neurotic dog person ) uncomfortable, and stories about the end, about aging, failing bodies, and passing, that made my heart clench (while I anxiously pet my ancient canine sidekick).

    "Each writer is required to tell a dog's story and so dogs attach themselves to writers...." - Eileen Myles 'Afterglow (a dog memoir)'

  • Rachel Davies

    another great one

  • Joe

    It went on, and on, and on some more, and it still hadn't ended, and then there was another few chapters - 200 pages that seemed like 2000. The only analog that comes to mind is the film

    .

  • Julie

    When have you ever read a memoir about a dead dog where heroin is even mentioned, much less held up? Or where Hitler is compared to Kurt Cobain? How about the objectification of pan-sexual

    unicorns on biblical tapestries? But wait, there's more....

    The book starts off right away with an ethereal punch, a letter from her dog's alleged legal council. It let me know straight away that this was not going to be some sappy doggie memoir. It was going to be witty and sharp and maybe a little weird. I mea

    When have you ever read a memoir about a dead dog where heroin is even mentioned, much less held up? Or where Hitler is compared to Kurt Cobain? How about the objectification of pan-sexual

    unicorns on biblical tapestries? But wait, there's more....

    The book starts off right away with an ethereal punch, a letter from her dog's alleged legal council. It let me know straight away that this was not going to be some sappy doggie memoir. It was going to be witty and sharp and maybe a little weird. I mean the latter in the good sense of weird ~ it's original meaning being that one is in charge of their own destiny.

    For full disclosure, I just lost a beloved dog named Zoe in December. That's not why I read this book, I read it because it came highly recommended before Zoe's demise. It just happened to be in my stack of books to read and here I am having read it a month after Zoe died in my arms.

    The author is a good writer. She is wildly creative and marches to her own marching band. I would have enjoyed it more if I had read this before my dog died or even during. For most of the book, I found myself not being moved though sometimes I was humored. Pearls of wisdom do run throughout and I'm sure I missed some because of my plight.

    For the majority of the memoir, I couldn't get past the author's moat of words to the heart of things, to how she felt about her dog. What that life and loss meant. Yes, she does touch on it throughout, but being so raw myself as I read it, it felt stingy.

    The book flips from prose to poetry to letters to fantasy to dreams to biography to scripts to anything else the author pleases.

    The book at times reads like lazy Sunday memories. It's prose is often poetic, oftentimes a frantic avalanche of words. It's unconscious sometimes too.

    There were many morsels that made me pause, but most often I felt like I was eating too fast without tasting it.

    The author goes off on a lot of tangents, as she remembers before and after Rosie died, her dog of 16 years, but it felt authentic because that is how it is, as someone that just lost a dog last month, I can tell you, you ache and you move on and you remember and you think about what you might have done or could have done and as a writer, you write shit down.

    The other day something popped up on Facebok about it being six years since I rescued Zoe from the kill table. It was something I posted two years ago. I'm so glad I wrote about her without the sadness of her death looking over my shoulder. There is something beautiful about reading your dead dogs life when it wasn't known she was going soon. I wrote about her silent movie star eyebrows that can only be seen when she used them, how she walked like Marilyn Monroe in "Some Like it Hot," and how when walking in her hood, whenever she saw a big dog, she would get a mohawk up her back and seem to say "You want a piece of me?! Ya wanna piece of me!!" But she was cool off the leash at the dog park and chill everywhere else.

    As the author got closer to the end of the book and let's the dog take over, something hit me. While the dog's voice is nothing like that of the author's, I get that throughout the memoir when it seems the dog is nowhere in sight, the dog has been there all along like a breath or a heartbeat, underneath the surface.

    When the author touches on the mass extermination of dogs, the Nazi-like gassing of them (she doesn't name Nazis, that's me), I thought of my Zoe that just died and how I rescued her on the day she was fated to die in the shelter six years ago this January. She had only been there three days and she was going to be whacked. For being old maybe (how dare she age), for being shy maybe (that will get you killed as fast as being aggressive in a shelter), for being a chihuahua (the two breeds they have most of are chihuahuas and pitbulls, so dime a dozen they make the list quick, my rescue poodle Bailey got a month and he's crazy as fuck, but he's a poodle, God shelters are racist on some level).

    It was poignant when her dog sees the author trying to figure out if she loves enough. The dog clarifies that she does not. This was deep, because compared to dogs, very few of us love as undiluted as they. Though not always, especially when a dog has been mistreated or abused, but even then, even when everything has gone so terribly wrong for a dog, they can learn to live again and be happier than any human being. How are they so happy to see us every time. Every goddamned time.

    Toward the end, the author discusses her ancestors and then jumps into her dogs afterlife and before life and life life.

    The author got to the meat of it when she writes how dogs bring humans back from the deliberate apartness from ourselves. This is so true. When a friend died a few years ago on the phone when talking to me, I was broken. I didn't want to do anything, but because I had two dogs, I had to go outside, I had to walk them, they were more than happy to lay with me as I cried or stared off into space, they were my rocks and my lifeline. The dogs brought me back.

    The feeling I had when finishing the memoir is a life lived, the dog, the human. It was a swirl, a mad dash, yet when it's all written down and done, it's life was rich.

    I didn't get it until the end exactly why all the rave reviews and I don't mean that to say that she isn't a great writer or that the end is where it's at. It's part of a whole, it's part of the fabric. Just as the dogs in my life are part of who I am. The ending helped me see the whole memoir more clearly.

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