"The opposite of an out-of-body experience": In the Stacks with Eileen Myles + The "Gentle Madness" of Collecting Books

March 3rd, 2019

On this episode of Open Stacks, poet Eileen Myles joins us in the stacks to discuss talking and writing Evolution, their new collection of essays and poems, and "trying so hard to be in this world." Co-op Booksellers weigh in on the art and "gentle madness" of collecting books.

On February 13, 2019, Eileen Myles came to the Co-op to read from their new collection, Evolution. Before their event, Myles joined Colin in the stacks of 57th Street Books to discuss the social life of books and shared space of the page. Above, Myles' "setlist" from their October 2017 reading from Afterglow (a dog memoir). This episode features a handful of poems from their latest book as well.


Browse Eileen Myles' recommended reading list below, along with several other titles featured in this episode.


If all this episode's talk of New York School poets and Myles' performative reading left you hungry for more poems off the page, check out Open Stacks #46, when poets Duriel Harris and Anthony Madrid helped us hear and think about persona and peformance in contemporary poetry. You can also learn more about the St. Mark's Church Poetry Project Myles mentioned here and have a look at their improvisatory Instagram.

With collecting on our minds (and shelves -- see below), we're back at the Co-op's Front Table with Assistant Manager Alena Jones, whose own collection of style guides lead the way to Copy Chief of Random House Benjamin Dreyer’s best-selling, arguably infallible "mind-blower" (George Saunders) Dreyer's English. Browse the Front Table in our weekly email newsletter and right here at semcoop.com.

"When you bought this book," asks William Davies King in Collections of Nothing, "did you pause to consider some other thing you might buy instead, something of which you already have more, strictly speaking, than you need?" As we anticipate the March 8 deadline for this year's T. Kimball Brooker Prize for Undergraduate Book Collecting at the University of Chicago, we asked our booksellers to open up about their unique, if (strictly speaking) unnecessary collections as well, some of which are pictured here.


What sorts of books do you collect? Don't keep it to yourself. Write to us at podcast@semcoop.com.