Release Date: February 20, 2019
Received From: Review copy from the author
A poetry collection about the mythic life of Artemis, Greek Goddess of the hunt. Told through the perspective of Artemis herself with the contributions of a few other Greek Goddesses. This collection reimagines and follows Artemis navigating her lifelong vow of chastity and, rather than suffering through it, owning it as a facet of her aromanticism and asexuality. Immerse yourself in a cultivated tempest of poems illustrating Artemis as a warrior, whose shoulders have known an excessive weight of responsibility, and who always fights to remain her authentic self among people who would change her.
ROMANTIC ORIENTATION: aromantic
TAGS: poetry, mythology, ownvoices
WARNINGS: cheating mention, anti-ace mention, anti-aro mention, non consensual touching mention
Poetry can be difficult to write and review because it’s always so objective, but there is no question that this collection from Shelby Eileen is stunning and lyrical and deserving of the highest of ratings.
It’s told mostly from the point of view of the goddess Artemis, building on the headcanon long accepted by many in the aro and ace communities that the goddess is one of us. In this collection, Artemis is gorgeously fierce and bloodthirsty while also vulnerable and open to those she cares for. Over time, she learns to protect herself from those who scorn her and her lack of desire, but she also keeps herself open and discovers a way to be at peace with herself. She recognizes that she will never fit into the boxes that were ascribed to her at birth, and she’s okay with that. Whether you’re aro and/or ace, it’s easy to see yourself in Eileen’s version of Artemis if you’re someone who’s been pidgeon-holed into certain ideals, someone who struggles against the bindings those expectations strangle you with. Artemis is a vessel for introspection and finding peace and relief within yourself.
As always, Eileen’s poetry is lush and lyrical and evocative. It’s so easy to connect with her work and see yourself, even when the topic may not necessarily apply to you. (Though I identify heavily with the aroace aspect of this particular collection!) The prose flows with ease and it’s quite simple to get lost in it. Additionally, Eileen’s work is always so personal and introspective, and it’s almost as if you’re getting a voyeuristic glimpse into her life. However, like Artemis, Eileen makes herself vulnerable in sharing her words and work with us, bravely exposing her neck and daring you to strike. But negativity is not the way to go–this vulnerability deserves only gentleness and respect.
Shelby Eileen continues to produce beautiful poetry, and I cannot wait to see what will come next.
Shelby Eileen is a queer Canadian writer in a perpetual state of stress concerning her unmapped future. Eileen studied at Brock University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature. She uses the knowledge and skills gained from her degree throughout her daily life, even if others hardly notice that she does so. One of her many dreams is to live alone in a little apartment with a cat and good writing energy. Her previously published works include; soft in the middle, sunfish, and Sunshine, Sadness, and other Floridian Effects. In her free time you can find her reading romances, listening to audiobooks when she should be focusing on something else, crocheting, or sending pictures of corgis and Jake Gyllenhaal to her friends. The next thing she hopes to tackle after another poetry collection or two: romance novellas! Connect with her on twitter and instagram @briseisbooks.