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.

  • Diane Payne

    I didn't realize this book was so short since the ARC was for Kindle. When I got to the end, I knew I hadn't read that rigorously, and I judged the book differently, as if it was a collection of poems, though it was an experimental poetic memoir of sort. If this was Myles' first book, her readers may not be so generous with the reviews. But, if like me, you've read more of her work, you may be more forgiving and more humored by the audacity and, at times, what may feel like lunacy. Who doesn't e

    I didn't realize this book was so short since the ARC was for Kindle. When I got to the end, I knew I hadn't read that rigorously, and I judged the book differently, as if it was a collection of poems, though it was an experimental poetic memoir of sort. If this was Myles' first book, her readers may not be so generous with the reviews. But, if like me, you've read more of her work, you may be more forgiving and more humored by the audacity and, at times, what may feel like lunacy. Who doesn't experience a sense of lunacy when enduring grief? Grief is maddening. In the beginning of the book, I was deeply connected with the memoir. Being a pet person, and one who does all I can until there is no more left to do, I could relate with how she cared for her 16 year old pit bull. And I wasn't surprised when the father/self connections to alcoholism surfaced because grief tends to create an opening for getting wasted. When the book shifted to the interview with Eileen's childhood puppet asking questions of Rosie the Dead Dog, at first I thought, damn straight, let the dog speak. Then the dog spoke and spoke and spoke until the book ended, and I almost felt like I was played (since I didn't know the ending was near--maybe "page numbers" or that percentage Kindle thing were intentionally left off the galley for the surprise effect, or because of the photos in the book, or it existed but I just didn't see it. Either way: She loved her dog and here's the tribute. Eileen believed her dog was her father reincarnated, so the memoir also was a tribute of sorts to him also. Eileen was lucky her dog was her father. Makes me wonder if a few of my pets were reincarnations of less pleasant people in my life. I didn't learn enough the first time round, so damn it, maybe next time.

  • Kathy

    Eileen Myles is a poet.

    , like most of her other prose work, perches just on the edge of narrative, sliding frequently into the realm of poetry and metaphor. Though billed as a "Dog Memoir" it is much less straightforward than that. Myles' dog, Rosie, is the fulcrum on which this book swings, but really it explores many larger issues of death and dying, the relationship of humans with dogs, and where we all belong in this world.

    is exactly what you'd expect from Eileen Myles:

    Eileen Myles is a poet.

    , like most of her other prose work, perches just on the edge of narrative, sliding frequently into the realm of poetry and metaphor. Though billed as a "Dog Memoir" it is much less straightforward than that. Myles' dog, Rosie, is the fulcrum on which this book swings, but really it explores many larger issues of death and dying, the relationship of humans with dogs, and where we all belong in this world.

    is exactly what you'd expect from Eileen Myles: Hard, truthful, funny, sad, uncomfortable and beautiful.

    I would recommend this book to fans of Myles' work, and folks who don't mind a bit of a literary challenge.

    Dog lovers be forewarned: Heart-wrenching dog stuff ahead.

    FULL DISCLOSURE: I received an ARC from Grove Press/Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • 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.

  • Rachel Davies

    another great one

  • Jen Hirt

    Here's my suggestions for understanding the brilliance of this book. Think of it this way:

    Puppies...puppets...photo of Rosie on page 173, she looks like a sock puppet.

    Letter from Rosie....Rosie is the father...puppet for the lost father

    Dogs and mailmen, a thing....mailmen bring letters

    "All mailmen are dogs" (pg. 193)..."A letter is like a dream of a thought" (pg. 195).

    postal blue...blue water and foam...pit bulls as "the last fish"...Rosie's ashes in the blue water

    "The holiest people live by the

    Here's my suggestions for understanding the brilliance of this book. Think of it this way:

    Puppies...puppets...photo of Rosie on page 173, she looks like a sock puppet.

    Letter from Rosie....Rosie is the father...puppet for the lost father

    Dogs and mailmen, a thing....mailmen bring letters

    "All mailmen are dogs" (pg. 193)..."A letter is like a dream of a thought" (pg. 195).

    postal blue...blue water and foam...pit bulls as "the last fish"...Rosie's ashes in the blue water

    "The holiest people live by the sea with their dogs" (pg. 83).

    Memoir as tapestry.

    And: "How much would have changed if one dog one day did not show up" (pg. 127).

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