Gods and Mortals: Modern Poems on Classical Myths

Gods and Mortals: Modern Poems on Classical Myths Details


, 2014, Poetry, Fantasy, Anthologies, Fiction, Retellings

For centuries, poets have looked into the mirror of classical myth to show us the many ways our emotional lives are still reflected in the ancient stories of heroism, hubris, transformation, and loss that myths so eloquently tell. Now, in Gods and Mortals: Modern Poems on Classical Myths, we have the first anthology to gather the great 20th century myth-inspired poems from around the world.
"Perhaps it is because the myths echo the structure of our unconscious that every new generation of poets finds them a source of inspiration and self-recognition," says Nina Kossman in her introduction to this marvelous collection. Indeed, from Valery, Yeats, Lawrence, Rilke, Akhmatova, and Auden writing in the first half of the century to such contemporary poets as Lucille Clifton, Derek Walcott, Rita Dove, Wislawa Szymborska, and Mark Strand, the material of Greek myth has elicited a poetry of remarkably high achievement. And by organizing the poems first into broad categories such as "Heroes," "Lovers," "Trespassers," and secondly around particular mythological figures such as Persephone, Orpheus, or Narcissus, readers are treated to a fascinating spectrum of poems on the same subject. For example, the section on Odysseus includes poems by Cavafy, W. S. Merwin, Gregory Corso, Gabriel Zaid, Louise Gluck, Wallace Stevens, and many others. Thus we are allowed to see the familiar Greek hero refracted through the eyes, and sharply varying stylistic approaches, of a wide range of poets from around the world.
Here, then, is a collection of extraordinary poems that testifies to--and amply rewards--our ongoing fascination with classical myth.

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Title:Gods and Mortals: Modern Poems on Classical Myths
Edition Language:English
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    Gods and Mortals: Modern Poems on Classical Myths Reviews

  • Sylvester

    Gathering all these poems together? Herculean task. But my gosh, what a great idea! I loved it – all the different responses to the familiar (and some not so familiar) characters – proof of what N...

  • Gregory Rothbard

    Great book that takes a modern look at classical greek mythology. A great reference to making the mythic relevant in this troubling time. Why Myths? -from the Introduction the editor Nina Kossman expl...

  • James Miller

    As always with anthologies a somewhat mixed bag and my biggest disappointment was that the amazing pieces that jumped out and bit me wee those I already knew by Cavafy (esp. Ithaca), Longley, and Attw...

  • Michael

    I've avoided reading this because I didn't want my own myth poems to be influenced by these, but I just can't resist! (Check out the table of contents on Amazon.) ...

  • Nina Kossman