by Eileen Myles.
Author page: link.
Review Tagline: Poetry that packs an emotional punch.
Blurb: 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:
so I buy
a Diet Coke &
a version of “me”
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
Length: 176 pages.
Read as an: eBook.
My Thoughts: In Evolution we see a lot of the poet, Eileen Myles, in her work. I really enjoyed everything Evolution had to offer, the poetry is both emotional and refreshing – Myles shows us all that poetry can be.
Poetry makes us feel, and in Evolution we are offered a range of emotions: love, loss, desire, regret, and at times loneliness. Throughout the book we are given an insight into the woman herself – we learn about her relationship with her Mother, her feeling of loss, her love, and an almost distant feeling of desire.
Evolution features a range of styles from the author. There are long text based poems such as ‘Acceptance Speech,’ and smaller poems such as ‘Paradise’ which encapsulate a moment or idea. The majority of the poems are ones which feature shorter sentences, broken up with lines breaks. The style gives the poems not only a punchier feel but an interesting sense of rhythm.
The poems are great to read on the page but some of them ache to be recited. The longer poems such as ‘Acceptance Speech’ (a favourite of mine) and shorter more emotionally charged poems such as ‘For You,’ fill me with the need to hear them. Hell, even the opening of the book (surely too poetic to only be an introduction?!) is one I would gladly listen to, have the story told to me. The book is filled with many poems that I want to hear – I need to hear the emotion, the cadence, the poetry of the verse.
Best Bits: The below are some of my favourite poems from the book. I enjoyed them all, but these are the ones that stood out and grabbed me.
- ‘our happiness’ – pg 52.
- ‘for you’ – pg 69.
- ‘Sharing Fall’ – pg 84.
- ‘August 23’ – pg 106.
- ‘Acceptance Speech’ – pg 113.
- ‘Today’ – pg 144.
- ‘A Little bit’ – pg 193.
The above is the first four lines of the poem ‘Sharing Fall.’ I read those lines a number of times, they just stuck with me. The cadence. The repetition. The loss. ❤
Recommendations: I really enjoyed reading Evolution and would recommend everyone giving, if not this book, then some of Myles poetry a go.
If you’re new to poetry: Challenge yourself with her poetry, open yourself up to the experience, and see what you feel.
For the practiced poets: You’re missing out if you haven’t read Myles work… Why are you still here? You should be reading this book!
I just want to take a moment to say how incredible it is that I was given the chance to read Myles’ book. If you haven’t heard of her before, do yourself a favour and research her or give this book a read. I am blown away with not only the content of Evolution but with the fact that I was able to read and review the book! You better believe I bragged to the one person in the library who asked me a poetry reference question 😛
Please note: I received a copy of ‘Evolution’ from NetGalley.