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"All the lesbian intimacy you’ve yet to find on OKCupid can be found in this book." -- Lambda Literary ReviewFrom its beginning—“My English professor’s ass was so beautiful.”—to its end—“You can actually learn to have grace. And that’s heaven.”—poet, essayist and performer Eileen Myles’ chronicle transmits an energy and vividness that will not soon leave its readers. Her s"All the lesbian intimacy you’ve yet to find on OKCupid can be found in this book." -- Lambda Literary ReviewFrom its beginning—“My English professor’s ass was so beautiful.”—to its end—“You can actually learn to have grace. And that’s heaven.”—poet, essayist and performer Eileen Myles’ chronicle transmits an energy and vividness that will not soon leave its readers. Her story of a young female writer, discovering both her sexuality and her own creative drive in the meditative and raucous environment that was New York City in its punk and indie heyday, is engrossing, poignant, and funny. This is a voice from the underground that redefines the meaning of the word....

Title : Inferno (a poet's novel)
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781935928041
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 256 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Inferno (a poet's novel) Reviews

  • Eugene
    2019-06-19 10:00

    i remember reading some kim gordon interview where she said rock and roll was paying to watch someone else be free. poetry is the same thing but no one pays and it's more personal and pure because, frankly, no one gives a fuck.except. except.this messy, score-settling, no-longer-pure-but-still pure memoir has some heft to it. both the heft of trying for decades worth of personal history and also like it was meant to be done right. unrushed. yet it also has myles' great openness, as if it really were just her notebook and its feverish post-event, post-break-up, post-reading heart pouring. which belies a carefully sloppy sequencing, rough stitches to let the air and light in. in fact one of the things i love most about her writing is how successfully she risks an unfinished surface.a few large themes orient the work: the business and politics and capital of the 'poetry field,' what self-abuse seems necessary there; the ecstasies and agonies of sex, not relationships so much as the melancholic self-contemplations of the serious gigolo; the poem as valueless and therefore essential home and grave of it all.on this last, she gives, near work's end, several guiding definitions:"What I started to understand was that the poem was made out of time -- past, present and future. It lives in the present, it breathes there and that's how you let anyone in. I think people can feel this accessing of time in poetry very readily. As soon as the poem ceases to be about anything, when it even stops saving things, stops being such a damn collector, it becomes an invite to the only refuge which is the impossible moment of being alive. I lost her after a while, and of course she was never mine, I borrowed her and she borrowed me from our lives" (268).and"The room was the poem, the day I was in. Oh Christ. What writes my poem is a second ring, inner or outer. Poetry is just the performance of it. These little things, whether I write them or not. That's the score. The thing of great value is you. Where you are, glowing and fading, while you live" (270)....also beautiful warnings throughout, like:"Because rich people need poor friends (but not too poor!) to maintain their connection to the struggle that spawned them even if they never struggled. Poor people tend to know what's going on plus they are often good-looking, at least when they are young and even later they are the cool interesting people the rich person once slept with, so the poor person always feathers the nest of the rich. If something bad happens to the poor person, the rich person would help. Everyone knows that. An artist's responsibility for a very long time is to get collected, socially" (33).and"I was naturally going to a reading, I had some hot pink flyers in my bag of where I was going and they liked how I looked when I came in and by the time I left everyone was roaring and they really liked my outfit and the dinner people were coming and they were mostly art world and I was his and her young punk, a genius and for that I was fed and felt seen and went out a little loaded into the bright cold. We were carrying the message, day and night for about ten years. That's about as long as you get" (259).

  • tee
    2019-05-21 08:00

    I quite liked this amorphic, slippery little book. Although it wobbled about with it's free-form structure lack-of-structure; it managed to never collapse under itself. It was like an engorged clit. Or a jellyfish on steroids. Slippery; because there's a good five to ten pages towards the end that are saturated with pussy; clits and labia, you'll know it when you hit it, hold on tight. There was one spectacular line elsewhere, "(...) and his pretty little asshole was like a bud when Rene found him and now it was stretched out like a scowl."stretched out like a scowl. Sheer brilliance right there.Eileen Myles is fascinating and I'm a little envious of her New York-drugs & dyke & poetry filled life. But that's what we have books for, right? To live vicariously through others; which I most certainly did in this fuck-however-a-memoir-is-supposed-to-be-written, THIS IS HOW I TELLS IT chunk of unconventional sentences and paragraphs. It took me ages to read (like a week, yo - I usually devour shit like this in hours so I'm in mourning for my attention span, begging for some ritalin; if a book filled with so much poetry and gay and drugs can't keep me focused, then I'm well and truly in dire straights.You should watch her videos on youtube, she makes you want to take your clothes off in the hopes that she'll write about you one day too.Pre-read; I read about this here.

  • Emily
    2019-06-20 06:23

    I reviewed this book for the Poetry Foundation and right now I have to stop fucking around with Goodreads and answer the factchecker's questions about my review. Anyway, spoiler I give it five stars. Eileen Myles is the god of you.

  • Ariel
    2019-06-15 06:04

    I wanted to like this a lot more than I did. The meandering narrative made it hard for me to put it down, but not necessarily in a good way. More of a this is making me anxious and I don't know where it's going so I can't stop kind of a way. Glad I read it though. Plus the last page really spoke to me. I have a hard time leaving parties too. Eileen Myles thinks a poem is like a party. I think a lot of things are like a party.

  • Kevin
    2019-06-01 09:21

    The subtitle "A Poet's Novel" makes me wonder what makes it different from say, "a novelist's novel" or "an artist's novel." Is it the gonzo approach to grammar, flow, story, and dialogue? Hmmm. Maybe that's it. Myles plays/writes using her own rules. If I were her editor I think my head would explode (after about 20 pages, I probably would realize: Oh, this is art. This is uneditable. This is freaking Eileen Myles!).I like how this is essentially a memoir with the N-word ("novel") attached to it, like some kind of disclaimer that she might be playing with you at times. I also really like the snarkiness of Myles's voice. It's pretty damn funny at times, not to mention endlessly quotable.

  • Amanda
    2019-06-19 07:01

    One of those books that I highlight until the pages become watercolor paintings. A dreamy winding account of the author's young adulthood with vivid flashes of lucid existential clarity. Lulled me into amused complacent spectatorship only to knock me off my feet into a chasm of truth again and again.

  • Wendy
    2019-05-31 05:15

    I had to read this for class, and of all the assigned novels it was the one I most expected to like. But it's the one I like the least.It's not fiction, for starters, and that bugs me in a class for writing fiction. The author is a poet and it's the story of her poetic life. I am not that literary a writer. I am not overly-enamored of literary events. Just the same way I suppose I prefer musicals to straight plays; I am easily bored. This book has a very long chapter detailing readings the author was part of in the 1970s. I guess she's probably a good poet and all that; I'm not sure just how one judges poetry and mostly it goes over my head or something and I think "wow, that's it?" The book's timeline is a bit awkward to follow; several times I didn't know what Myles was talking about: when was this? where were you? What the hell is going on here? The novel jumps, it incorporates poetry into the narrative, which seems a bit pretentious, but I guess it makes sense since she is a poet. I thought the lesbian perspective would make me really love this book, but it doesn't. There are parts of it that I can definitely and do relate to. The tone of the book is very strange, too; the writing is at times very compelling and highly readable but at the same time it sounds almost as if it's being written by someone with a very low mental capacity. Or someone who's about fourteen years old. It's hard to explain unless you pick it up and read a bit of it, but that's the impression I am left with. Boring, annoying and rather pretentious. I'm really sorry to say it. I had expected so much better.

  • lola
    2019-06-04 07:11

    I don't want to say too much because I want you to read it. I will say it Has a Part at the End. When I was done reading the Part I closed the book and hit it five times against the wall. It damn near killed me. You will see. RIP Lola 1986-2010 "Myles, Eileen. Inferno: A Poet's Novel. (2010) pp228-236"

  • erin
    2019-06-17 06:24

    this is such a good read for a time in my life where I am trying to figure out how to be a poet. here are some quotations I like from it about poetry so I can save them and also return this to the library because it's due tomorrow:p. 52: "Poetry readings were like early teevee in that everyone had their own little show. Though teevee got more sophisticated (worse) poetry never did. It remains stupid, run by fools. It's the only way to hold it open."p. 108: "I mean and I would definitely say poetry is a very roundabout way to unite both work and time. A poet is a person with a very short attention span who actually decides to study it. To look. To draw that short thing out."p. 224 (a comparison to Hart Crane) "There's one picture of me when I was thirteen sitting with my friends and I was doing it. Looking through the camera, back at myself but pleased. Usually the other people in the picture actually seem to be in the world. They're stopping the balloon from floating off."(and I think I marked this because it resembles my favorite line in Wittgenstein's Mistress: "All that looking compressed in a poem."p. 261: "The poem was a grid– that swayed and moving through it you just picked up things and hung them on the grid all the while singing your broken heart out. Humming. It was a deep deep grey. In that place (and poetry most of all is a mastery of places, not the world but the weather of the states that form in your life and what you read and how things were taken and what came back) each of these series of occurrences creates a season. The seasons grow huge (til they die) and in each you create a new sense of what the poem is in relation to the space of your mind, heart, that kind of substance."

  • M.
    2019-06-12 09:02

    "Everything was pathetic and it wouldn't stop. I'm a mess. And I could show how that looked. I resigned myself to continuous movement. Like I'm drawing. Like if there is "a form" it exists independent of me, or else I'm complicit in it. I'm wandering in it. Underlining. Changing horses all the time. And each decision left a mark. And I lay there in the hot New York night writing my poem to Alice, to Susie, to everyone I knew--about being--not in literature, not in relation to some historical form, or even art. I'm alive in life and I'm...walking its dog. Some profound creaturliness was guiding me. I began to understand a poem as a performance of that. I looked out the window. And it loved me. Everything went wiggle-wiggle." (214-5)

  • Filipa Calado
    2019-06-08 10:05

    I picked up this book because it's about lesbians and poetry. Both of which I like a lot. On this it did not disappoint.The story itself is very messy--good and bad. At first I was into it (how could I not be, when it begins by describing her English professor's ass); each section kind of creating it's own little world. Myles paints a good picture of mid 70s-90s New York City, and of the struggling poet trying to find a way to express herself. But in the middle section, which is framed as a grant proposal, I lost interest. I found myself reading through her little anecdotes and thinking, "so what, why do I care about your story?" But I pulled through. It gets good again when she finally accepts her lesbianism and acts on her desire.What I really like is her writing style. She writes conversationally. In fragments. Not caring whether her sentences predicate. I'm doing it now. And her words. Quick and well-chosen. Makes the reading experience go casual. And speedy. In my opinion, it's always worth it to read the life of a writer. The way of living, of thinking, of gathering whatever is around her and crafting it into art is soul-opening. And the story about how she figured out her gayness and how to be gay is inspiring and reassuring for any young gay person. I know I'm repeating myself, but I would recommend this book if you're into poetry or lesbians.

  • Elisabeth Watson
    2019-06-01 03:21

    One reaches for some version of the hackneyed phrase: so perfect in its imperfection. My astonishment, for myself anyway, feels new: I can't remember the last time I loved a work of literature that's so MESSY. I think the 3 parts stand better on their own than together, but Myles has so much swagger that if she says these are her inferno, puragatorio, and paradiso, I buy it.The great (perhaps healing) joy of Inferno is hearing a woman say EXACTLY the things I have needed to say for as long as I can remember in a voice and a personality so unlike my own. I feel more whole, and yet more enlarged and richer than if I'd articulated these things myself. And DAMN, she's funny, something I think every good poet should long and strive for, but how many of us will achieve that? She'd have my laughing and crying through entire chapters, and neither expression was more true than the other. Such a wonderful follow-up/compliment to ARE YOU MY MOTHER because so profoundly different.Her New York poetry scene, her Lower East Side, her what it's like to be lesbian in America are not mine, but they are inextricably part of the world(s) I have inherited, and I'm so thankful to know my own universe better through her description of its parts.

  • Francesca
    2019-05-24 04:55

    I mean, what can I say about this book? I wanted to underline every second paragraph or so. EM combines a natural facility for storytelling, hooky, humorous anecdote, and the intellectual & metaphysical brilliance one would expect from a poet of her stature. But what is especially excellent about this book, the factor that will make it worth returning to, is its risky quality - its refusal to stick to a linear narrative, its depiction of a life lived around corners - the suggestion that this IS the poet's life, in spirals, fits & starts, & that it is the only way to really 'make' it. For all the namedropping in the book, half of them are just characters (much as in Dante's original Inferno), mirroring pillars of wisdom the poet eventually finds in herself: but if you have any interest whatsoever in New York, Allen Ginsberg, Patti Smith, Kathy Acker, Andy Warhol & the Factory scene, or Alice Notley - & that covers most people I know - you need to read it. Myles' voice is smart, sassy, funny, beautiful & exact; it's a joy to read.

  • Tim Looney
    2019-06-07 11:15

    I've yet to read Dante's Inferno. Eileen Myles is my introduction to Infernos. This book reads as one long, beautiful, sexy poem in three parts. Myle's voice is gripping from the opening line. A poetic memoir. A coming out story. Eileen comes out both as a poet and as a lesbian in a time when both poets and lesbians were outsiders. It was also a time period where the arts were still funded in the U.S. Grants were given to support projects by musicians, painters, sculptors, poets. Unfortunately those days are gone. For now?This is my introduction to her and to her work. She's written 19 books, once ran for president, and her book Chelsea Girls; which has just been reissued, along with a collection of poetry spanning her career to date; inspired and influenced many others to discover the poet within themselves.I will continue to read her books for years to come.

  • Lori Ortiz
    2019-06-05 04:23

    This is a moving memoir I'd call literature. It is full of memorable psychological insight, plainspoken, inevitable prose, surprising candor, and even some humor. "Inferno" reveals the nuts and bolts of Myles's poetry. It is a coming out story set mostly in downtown NYC where she lived and crafted her writing. This book affirms her estimable wisdom. The cover pencil drawing was at first inexplicable, but its meaning unfolded with the reading. Recommended for anyone curious about this woman-about-town or a poet's culture of lesbian love, sex, drugs, poetry, and personalities. Useful for anyone trying to write poetry or to write. "I think you just need more experience to understand hell as something possibly good," she writes.

  • Alvin
    2019-06-18 05:03

    Myles, a likable guide, leads readers on a tour of the NYC's downtown poetry/art scene of the '70s & '80s. Unlike Dante's inferno, Manhattan's inferno is more heavenly than hellish, a place where artists can afford to live and hang out with other artists producing art! Thanks to Myles' wild use of language I often had no idea what she was talking about, but nearly as often she illuminated tiny slivers of reality with both perceptive brilliance and beauty.

  • johannaevida
    2019-06-19 10:05

    Så märkligt ojämn och repetativ. Dock mycket glad att ha läst.Uppskattar man droppande av namn som Kathy Acker, Raymond Pettibon, Andy Warhol, Patti Smith så finns mycket att hämta. I övrigt cirkulerar texten kring skapandeprocess och sexualitet, med ett 70-taligt New York ständigt närvarande i bakgrunden.

  • Zoe Tuck
    2019-06-02 05:04

    Just the thing to read when you leave a place and a scene you've been in for years. I wasn't ready for it in 2010 but I am now.

  • Mel
    2019-05-29 09:59

    I have a new poet crush and it's Eileen Myles. Of course, I will always have the biggest poet crush on Patti Smith, but yeah, I have a new one or maybe another one and it is on Eileen Myles. This is a memoir about their life in New York in what I like to think was its hey day. When it was filled with people who were writers, poets and artists and queers. They weren't rich and they didn't have a lot of money. They didn't need to at that time. This is the New York I missed cause I am too young and I grew up in the Midwest. This is the New York I will never know because it will never happen again. I always love books like this. Listening to them read it was wonderful. Their voice and the way they talked was so great. The way they told their coming of age story was perfect to me. Kind of like Patti but at the same time not at all like Patti. I will be reading more Myles but I should probably be listening to them read it instead. 5 stars and best reads pile.

  • alexandra
    2019-06-06 04:23

    this gave me hella whiplash and raging anxiety. But in a good way!I didn't get this at first — I think I took the term novel too literally when in reality this is just a series of essays, memoirs and poetry spanning years; not in chronological order (without any semblance of order, really) and total disregard for the rules of grammar.Once I worked that out I could let myself enjoy this for what it is: pure art. unedited rambling prose, flow, performance in vivid and meandering text and it was majestic. eileen myles is something else completely.

  • Stephanie
    2019-05-29 09:59

    3.5 stars.I've been in, like, major avoidance-mode with my review-writing lately. Every time I attempted to write some kind of coherent review for Eileen Myles's Inferno I ended up hitting the "Cancel changes" button at the bottom of the page. BUT NOT THIS TIME, MY FRIENDS.When I read Inferno, sometimes I thought it was really brilliant and, like, achingly beautiful (HOW INSANE IS THIS? But the subway was always the best. A train pulled into the station in 1972 and it was the dirtiest most decorated cartoon monster drooling red lips, delirious screaming bright blue baby names in cloud writing and dates and big eyes and then the teeth parted and we stepped in, 73.) Sometimes I thought it was kind of ridiculous. And awkward. And in need of some serious editing. The book (which is more stylized memoir than novel) is divided into three sections—roughly modeled on Dante's Divine Comedy. Sometimes that worked SO WELL. Sometimes it didn't. I am still on the fence with regards to the second section which is framed as a rambling grant proposal. But then I thought of it in the context of Purgatory and was like, oh. Okay. I guess. Ultimately Myles's Heaven is not reached via the innumerable sexual liaisons she describes in the last section (or the alcohol and drug-use that pops up throughout the book), but rather in the act of writing; and THAT is something so lovely to consider.

  • Lucy
    2019-06-19 11:18

    I had not read any of Eileen's work before but was so impressed with this book i'm sure I will in the future! She has a wonderful eye for detail, you get under her skin in this book, it's a biography of sorts but the kind of biography I love, it doesn't just take you through the day to day, it delves into the mind, the thoughts that are running through her brain as she deals with life in New York in the 70s. She lives in an apartment in New York, meets the great and good who reside there, It always amazes me how some people find their path through life, she was working in an office and realised she didn't want to spend her life sat there, so off she went and lived a life of sex, drugs and poetry in New York, at first sleeping with men but then having the feeling of falling in love with Rose, and her whole opened up. She describes their first encounter as leaving her feeling 'a sense of being not correct but aligned for the first time'. A wonderful description of finding your true path in life.I have seen in other peoples reviews they have said they preferred the first part of the book, but actually I loved the latter pages. There are some amazing streams of consciousness to be found, I made a note of some of the ones that particularly struck me.'The possibility that i should keep living in this particular time in which i was born, not bleeding into all the other times, hear this footstep not that. Feel the possibility and let it leak.' p221'The thing of great value is you. where you are, glowing and fading while you live'The book is full of such great insight, not just into Eileen's life, but people's perspectives. I sent a link to her website to a poet friend of mine in LA and this was the wonderful response I got from him regarding her work.. "She also makes some good points and other artist like her do as well. The stories through out the world we have told slant us jade us towards a prejudice. We are slanted towards male female and anything suggesting otherwise is suppressed. We put down these stories and we all grow up with a certain prejudice that we have to overcome if we want real liberation. How can any loving presence create a universe where two people who love each other are forbidden to embrace each other to touch to fuck to do whatever they want as long as they do not hurt each other.What kind of Divine love. What kind of God would that be and would you want anything to so with being who is all beings like that. I certainly would not but I did not start this way i grew to this and this is the dialog that is needed and an honest realization that we need real stories new stories written not out of fear but out of kindness and love."And he hasn't even read the book yet!!!! Read it now! it will alter you in ways you had not expected!

  • Althea J.
    2019-05-29 10:08

    One of my favorite things about listening to this book on audiobook: On the page, there is a clear visual distinction between the prose and a poem that Myles had included. When listening, the distinction wasn't nearly as clear and I loved how the prose became one big poem in my mind. Sometimes there would be a subtle shift and the words would flow more liquidly, or the wording would become more abstract. I would find myself reading deeper into what she was saying. And I would check in with my book-book version of Inferno to confirm that it had indeed transitioned to an actual poem. And sometimes it was still the prose and I grew particularly fond of how personal and poetic Myles' prose is.Also, I love listening to her Boston accent peek out every one in awhile. It grounds a narrator with a sense of personal history. Of having come from a particular place. And I just love the sound of it.Something I'm still not sure of - Is this fiction? A fictionalized version of her life? And if so, where was the line between fiction and fact. There are so many details and names that I was sure this was a memoir. A historical retelling of a particular time/place/scene. The main character is called Eileen, so I was sure this was her personal story. But at one point she talks about an approach to writing that suggests the author use his own name, perhaps to bring the story alive, I can't remember the details. Which made me second guess whether the Eileen of Inferno is really her. Or if it really matters whether it's her or not.

  • Matthew Gallaway
    2019-06-12 04:55

    I loved Inferno because to me it represents a perfect antidote—a kind of artistic redemption—to the depressing tedium that so often accompanies two-dimensional declarations of being gay in a civil rights era. To read Inferno, in which Myles decides to become a poet and a lesbian (or to re-invent herself, which I believe is why it’s called a “novel” and not a memoir)—and she uses the word “career” to describe both choices, which is painful, hilarious, and not exactly PC in the manner of much of the book—is to understand that for Myles, the issue is not “it gets better” but a rather more punk-rock “it IS better.” If at times her deadpan, downtown cool seems emotionally distant, by the end it’s clear she has mastered her craft to an extent that as a reader it’s almost impossible not to feel deficient for being anything but a poet/lesbian, and specifically anyone but Eileen Myles, which is a pretty amazing trick when you step back and consider the political power generally speaking held by lesbian poets in our society at this juncture. We can’t all be Eileen Myles, obviously, but Inferno should inspire anyone who wants to follow in her artistic footsteps.

  • Liza
    2019-06-17 07:07

    I read this because I heard it had a lot of sex in it, and due to some kind of error the publisher sent it to me for free. Other times I tried to read Eileen Myles I couldn't get past the feeling that she was full of it in the bad way, but in this book she seemed more sympathetic because there are parts about being young and not knowing a lot, and there is that great line about being an old crappy dyke with half a brain leaking a book. There wasn't as much sex as I was hoping but still some pretty good parts. Lots of it was true in the way that you know things are true but you feel like you aren't allowed to say it like maybe it is embarrassing but she just says it.

  • Simon
    2019-05-26 11:11

    Ok so there's this weird arms race to write going on where everyone is trying to produce the great lower east side bohemian memoir. Richard Hell, Patti Smith, and Kim Gordon have all given it a shot. The secret is though that Eileen Myles already did it in 2010 and it's weirder and better written and more interesting then any of those books. Or maybe I just am more interested in poets these days then rock musicians. It's sort of a coming out novel, sort of a coming of age novel, sort of a gossipy dish, and sort of a guidebook for being a young poet. It's fractured and informal and "poetish" but it's still very accessible and enjoyable.

  • Curtis
    2019-05-24 08:20

    “My English professor’s ass was so beautiful. It was perfect and full as she stood at the board writing some important word.” And so began Inferno (A Poet’s Novel) by Eileen Myles. The aforementioned opening, instantly one of my favorites, grabbed me and never let go. Inferno claims to be a poet’s novel, also known as a Künstlerroman, but it felt more like a dishy artist memoir. It’s raw, compelling and highly quotable. Myles manages to pull off the ultimate memoir-novel in true, uncompromising, rock star fashion.

  • Gina
    2019-06-12 06:55

    There is something hypnotic about the way these sentences and fragments are structured. I found the book to be stunning, devastating, and hopeful. In addition to this being about the author exploring and discovering her sexuality, it is also a book about being an artist and really learning what that means and what it takes to dedicate one's life to it. Further, the book offers insight to New York City in the 70s and 80s and demonstrates the importance of community.

  • Az
    2019-06-17 09:09

    moments in inferno blur virtuosically like cool for you or chelsea girls, but the further you get, the lazier she writes, and i guess i am just not down with the name-dropping-ness of it all. new york. okay, poets. why are poets so great? -- but i saw eileen reading some of this and she gave me chills.

  • Tammy
    2019-05-29 06:23

    If you were not a part of the New York poetry scene in its heyday, this book will not make you feel like you were. I really wanted to love this thing, but maybe I just don't get it. Maybe its poetry is beyond me.