Autostraddle Book Club Reads Inferno: It’s All Happening on November 19th

“Dante really had no other way to talk about his time except in a poem. Inferno (A Poet’s Novel) is a heavily coded poem. It’s not about censorship but something else. It was an age of not even satire but allegory. His beliefs were fixed in the structure of his poem like the windows of a church. Her eyes twinkled. Oh my god.”

Hi hi hi what are you doing right now? Are you refreshing tumblr or making grilled cheese or wondering whether your cat is gay? Maybe instead of that you should buy a copy of Inferno, because we’re reading it for Autostraddle Read A F*cking Book Club. Yeah. Yeah, I know.

Eileen Myles’ Inferno is a “poet’s novel,” a concept which we were heretofore largely unfamiliar with but are nonetheless very excited about. Also, we are excited about Eileen Myles. A lot. Forever. So excited that we are reading her book for Book Club even though OR Books, the beautiful angel publishing house of the future that she’s with, does not distribute via Amazon, thus denying us literally hundreds of cents in affiliate linkage money.

We have more coming for you soon w/r/t exactly how special and beautiful Inferno is, because we are unabashedly obsessed with this book. Until then, we would like to politely suggest you buy it, and then read it. By November 19th, which is when we will have the open thread discussing our feelings on it.

A word about money, honey. We know you don’t have any because neither do we. If $16 for a book is too much for you, just go with the ebook that only costs $10! That is the price of two soy lattes, assuming that you put the change from each transaction in the tip jar, which you always should. LOOK YOU CAN EVEN CHOOSE FROM TWO DIFFERENT COVERS.


For our international friends: the publisher assures us that international shipping is only $5 to the UK and $8 everywhere else, which depending on your exchange rate may or may not be a reasonable amount of money. If not, did you notice up above where I said EBOOKS. It’s a thing. If you’re reading this, you have a computer with internet access, and if you have that then you’re only a few clicks away from being up close and personal with an ebook. Ok? Ok.

The thing is that even at our most poorest moments, supporting literature and writers is literally, after food (sometimes) THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO WITH YOUR MONEY. We are ALL ABOUT THE LIBRARY, and prefer it, but sometimes events occur which require us to buy books, like school and presents, and this is just gonna have to be one of those times and we think it’s okay. We’re at peace with it. We are ready to splurge to support independent, feminist lesbian literature. Of all things.

We have more to say on this topic. You will also have more to say on this topic. Eileen Myles has many things to say. Some of them are perfect and beautiful things, like: “She just kind of befriended us like wolves but she believed that wolves were good and could be taught too,” and “There was something really covered about childhood. I think it was the nuns.” I don’t know. We feel good about this. Do you not feel good yet? Here is audio of Emily Gould talking about Eileen Myles and then Eileen reading a poem, we found it just for you, it’s really fantastic we’re not kidding. Now how do you feel? WE ARE EXCITED TO FIND OUT. See you in November, you badass motherfuckers.

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. I want to shout out my sister love for you RIGHT NOW from the 24th floor of my probably-not-retrofitted-properly-in-case-of-a-major-earthquake building. But our windows don’t open.

    I can’t wait, and I will be purchasing my copy from the same local, independent, queer-friendly bookstore I was in a few weeks ago when I drooled all over Ivan Coyote in person (hint hint, next book idea). Carbon footprint? NIL.

    See you in 6 weeks and 1 day.

    Also? I have questions:

    Is it starting at a certain time or just all day? If so, PST or EST? Can we submit discussion points? If so, how will we tackle discussion points without getting off track? Can we organize local discussion groups for pre- and post-discussions around the e-discussion here at AS? Is someone going to announce a color-coded system for making notes, or is that too much? Can I borrow a highlighter? MY BRAIN IS ACTUALLY TINGLING WITH EXCITEMENT RIGHT NOW.

  2. So is this really available to buy now?

    Because I am finding the “Publication November 30th, 2010; 256 pages” line on the website a bit conflicty…

    • i am holding a copy in my hands right now. it is here. will you be buying the ebook or the print edition? how long will it take to get to you? are you going to have enough time??

      • Proper book, I just ordered it on the OR site.

        I guess I’ll see if it ships in the next couple of weeks, then get it from somewhere else if it doesn’t…

    • This makes the college kid with little-to-no-money very, very happy. E-books are convenient and save trees, but I don’t like them that much. I have a thing where I really like to have the actual book in my hands so I can like smell the pages and stuff when I read. Now I can buy the book! :)

      P.S. I am super, crazy, you-don’t-even-know excited about this book club thing. You. Don’t. Even. Know.

  3. I’m super excited about this. I got my copy in the mail this week, and even though I said I’d finish the book I was currently reading first. I totally didn’t and now I can’t. put. it. down.

    I have a long weekend starting now in which I plan to read Inferno and make lots of detailed, possibly colour-coded notes.

    Sad point? I just went to save the date in my diary, because my life can not happen if it isn’t in my diary, highlighted and staring in my face all month. I just realised I’m out of technology range that weekend.

    Everyone has to be completely awesome and intelligent (since when are you not? But I’m just making sure, ‘kay?) so when I come back and read all your discussions it feels like I was here all along.

    • scratch that. barnes and noble just emailed me and told me that they were unable to fufill my order. what an anti climax

  4. I am so thrilled for this!! I need a kick out of the fantasy never-ending series and the depressing travel books I’ve had of late. I will get my book from the indie shop down the street and make it my only reading material for my next 3 weeks on the road.

    • YES. Also? Shh, don’t tell my Anna Karenina Book Club that I’m cheating on it with Eileen/Autostraddle!


    I feel like Kristen Wigg in those SNL skits when they’re planning a surprise and it’s all she can do to contain herself so she just sits there and says “Ohhh myyy godddddd” and shoves crackers into her mouth.


  6. This is also perfect because I get to see Eileen Myles read in person on November 12 SAY WHAT.

    And I second FFAF on reading Ivan Coyote. I bought “Missed Her” on Saturday and I’ve read it three times already.

    • Brietta! True story: This morning, whilst waiting for my GD BART train at 8:50AM, I read the story about Ruby and I CRIED MY FACE OFF. Where are you seeing Eileen Myles read? I just missed her here in SF, sadly.

      • I go to a super awesome liberal arts university in the middle of Canada, and the Institute of Women & Gender Studies is presenting it in conjunction with the school’s art gallery. So yeah, total awesomepants. (also, Ivan’s our English Dept’s writer-in-residence next semester, nbd.)

        I just put Arnica cream on my finger that I sliced open cutting veggies the other day, and holy crap it’s SO WEIRD trying to type without my left index finger.

        • Sounds amazing! You’re so lucky. You’d better report back!

          PS. Sorry about your finger. I, too, suffer from an inability to move about the kitchen without maiming myself.

    • I know it’s crazy to want so soon… but I wish is was in audio already because I love audio books read by the author…

  7. I have a problem. I like to read books in one sitting (or as close to one sitting as is humanly possible). That means that if I get it now it won’t be fresh in my head for the discussion on November 19, but if I don’t get it now I WILL EXPLODE. I guess I’ll just reread it a billion times between now and then. You guys I’m so excited!

  8. Yay, I just bought the ebook! \o/ As an fyi for my eReader-owning brethren (the website was frustratingly vague about specifics), when you buy it, you get three separate downloads of the .zip, which includes .epub, .prc, and .pdf formats.

    So excited about this!

  9. Do you think it would be a bad idea to read Rachel’s review of Inferno without having actually read the book. I’d hate to be “spoiled” in any way but I must read all the things on Autostraddle.

    The word spoiler conjures up dark memories of my pre-teen self logging onto the Neopets forum and seeing 15 threads named SIRIUS BLACK IS DEAD MUHAHAHA before having reached that part. So okay, I’ll read the book to avoid this even though a) it’s not going to be available at the library and b) no one has made me a cucumber sandwich yet.

  10. i’m slightly worried, i ordered from OR books a few wks ago and it’s still listed as ‘awaiting fulfillment’, hmm

  11. AS totally wiped out OR books! I ordered a copy yesterday and received this email this morning:

    Thank you for ordering Eileen Myles’ Inferno (a poet’s novel) with the flames cover (cover A). We experienced a surge in orders and have unexpectedly run out of inventory of this particular cover. We are rushing to have a reprint done by mid-October, but as a result we must delay the shipment of your order. If you would like to have your order replaced with Cover B, please send an email to us at [email protected], and we will fulfill your order with Cover B immediately.

    • Yeah I got that too, so I had to opt for boring cover.

      I think it is illuminating/worrying that queer ladies, when given the choice, prefer something consumed by flames.

    • That’s awesome!

      I haven’t made it thru the prologue and I’m loving it already.

      Digital copy FTW!

      Sorry for your delay/boring cover.

  12. i would just like to note that the podcast with emily gould was very nice and also i want to hear her talk about lesbian sex more, which i think is exactly what we all came away thinking, right?

  13. I am excited! I pre-ordered through Barnes & Noble, where I work. Its only 10 bucks for hardcover. Yay!

  14. I want to read it, too, but amazon says it isn’t available [in europe?] right now. it’s possible though that it’s better this way, cause the next university term with it’s 1000plus or so pages to read starts in 2,5 weeks…

  15. does anyone know of where i could buy this book in a store in nyc?
    i just have this thing about only buying books in bookstores and not online.
    i’ve called bluestockings and looked at the strand and even b&n’s websites and they don’t seem to have any copies in their stores.
    suggestions would be awesome, thanks!

  16. I’m going to buy the book from OR, even though to NZ the shipping will cost the same as the book itself. Which is a bit annoying but as I can’t find it anywhere else that will have to do! I read some of it on Eileen’s webpage and it was aweeesome so I have got to have it.

  17. I pre-ordered the book on B&, but they canceled my order yesterday and didn’t say why. Did this happen to anyone else? Were they sold out or something?

  18. Just found Eileen Myles in one of the poetry anthologies I use to teach (win), and the last sentence of her bio blurb is:

    “A frequent contributor to The Village Voice and Art in America, Myles was a write-in candidate for president of the United States in 1992.”

    Amazing. But I was not yet eighteen in ’92, so I don’t feel [that] bad about not knowing this till, uh, this morning.

  19. I just searched for this article to remind myself of the date, and I realized that Harry Potter definitely comes out that day. Is it just me, or is that possibly a large conflict of interest? I feel like maybe Inferno won’t get the attention it deserves considering all the Harry Potter love we all seem to have. Maybe you might wanna move it? Just a suggestion. Whaddya think?

    • Bumping this post in hopes someone in charge sees it, because y’all are fangirling over the Harry Potter thread right now and I feel like Dani has a point, y’all will be fangirling on the 19th as well.

      (This has nothing to do with the fact that I ordered it late and am only 45 pages in, none at all what on earth are you talking about GEEZ GUYS)

    • HI GRACE. The post is written and it’s in wordpress but unfortunately everyone on the editorial staff is kind of having “a day,” the post will hopefully be up tomorrow and we can all TALK about our FEELINGS. WOO FEELINGS!

      • Do you want me to look at it, I can add “wiffle bat” into every other sentence for you, that’s helpful right

  20. Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after looking
    at some of the articles I realized it’s new to
    me. Anyhow, I’m definitely happy I stumbled upon it and I’ll be
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