Friday, February 26, 2010

Those Timeless Greeks

I can't review this book (Greek by Theo Dorgan) since I haven't read it yet, but I can say that it appears to be worth reading, given these two poems reprinted today by Poetry Daily, in which Artemis, talking on her cell phone, "stalks past, imperious and aloof, / radiant in her first flush of immortality."

What is it about the Greek myths that is so endlessly fascinating to so many of us? I think it's the fact that they were (correct me if I'm wrong) the last Western pagans - at least the last Western pagans who left an extensive enough written record that we can revisit them and their myths and stories again and again. Their deities were so human in their divinity, so petty and powerful and imperfect. That's why I like them, anyway.

When I was in grad school, I wrote my fair share of Greek-myth-inspired poems. One of my advisors said, "Why is everyone writing about Persephone now?" I won't try to psychoanalyze my generation of writers. All I know is that, as a writer who grew up hearing those myths, they are a starting place, a framework, a location where we can hang meaning. A theme with endless possible variations.

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