Eileen Myles’ dog memoir offers human insight from a canine perspective

Posted on Sep 21 2017 - 8:01am by Sarah Smith

Award-winning author Eileen Myles is coming to Thacker Mountain Radio at 6 p.m. at Off Square Books, accompanied by author Daren Wang and music provided by Mark Edgar Stuart and Crystal Yates.

Myles, author of “Afterglow: A Dog Memoir,” wrote this touching tribute to Myles’ dog Rosie, a pit bull from the streets. Part fiction and part truth, the book zeroes in on the life of Rosie and the connection pet owners have with their animals.


Photo courtesy: CBC

“Myles recreates life and death with Rosie and how that dog love helped illuminate many of Myles’ experiences, from sexuality to spirituality, celebrity, politics, struggles with alcoholism, and family relationships,” Lisa Howorth, an owner of Square Books, said.

Myles is a prolific writer who has written many books ranging from nonfiction to fiction but is known best as an American poet. Myles currently has 20 published books, the newest addition being “Afterglow.”

“’Afterglow’ is not your average dog memoir, of which there are probably hundreds,” Howorth said.

This book offers a new perspective of how those pets saw Myles’ life. It features some quirky scenes, like when Rosie is interviewed by Myles’ childhood puppet.

“Once Rosie died, I did take the opportunity to make some ornamental fantasy as homage to her,” Myles said.

The New Yorker describes Myles’ work as “at once deceptively casual and deeply personal.”

This dog memoir pokes fun at humans to make them stop and question themselves from the outside, almost like a sci-fi book told through the perspective of another being.

“We’re looking at the human from outside of their perspective. It’s easy to be jokey looking at us, but we’re so deluded, and dogs know that,” Myles said.

The memoir invites the imagination to fly, and it offers an escape into the mind of those little creatures that seem to always surround us.

“In the book, (Myles) will move to, as you say, ‘quirky’ segments, where Rosie is interviewed by Myles’ childhood puppet.” Howorth said. “For me, it’s the best kind of memoir: it deals with serious subjects, but not without a great sense of humor.”

Myles is a gender-fluid author whom The New York Times identified as an idol for feminists.

“Just about everything about Myles is interesting, and (Myles is) a great entertainer,” Howorth said. “There’s no one like (Myles) out there — a poet and author with 20 books and a dog poop-ton of awards who consistently puts on a smart, funny show. For the book segment on Thacker, we’re always looking for great writers who can also do that.”