Greek women poets on Greek myth

A new bilingual poetry collection, Phoebe Giannisi’s Homerica (2017), which has just appeared, brings to mind the growing number of Greek women writers of the poetic generation of the 2000s who have been publishing book-length cycles that draw explicitly and extensively on Greek myth. Recent collections include (in chronological order) Elisavet Arseniou’s Οδυσσία: Κείμενο πολιορκίας (2005), Eleni Kefala’s Μνήμη και παραλλαγές (2007), Giannisi’s own Ομηρικά (2009), Natalia Katsou’s Κοχλίας (2012), Konstantina Korryvanti’s Μυθογονία (2015), Patricia Kolaitis’ Ο Λιθόπαις (2016), and Anna Griva’s Σκοτεινή κλωστή δεμένη (2017).

There are many eminent features of this poetry, such as its performative character and its experimentation with agency, that bring it close to the English-language work on Greek myth of contemporary British, Irish, Australian, Canadian, and American women writers, such as (in order of age) Margaret Atwood (1939), Gail Holst-Warhaft (1941), Louise Glück (1943), Eavan Boland (1944), Anne Carson (1950), Linda Gregerson (1950), Rita Dove (1952), Carol Ann Duffy (1955), and Josephine Balmer (1959).

Emergent trends in classical reception research, such as “dialogicism,” “postclassicism,” “deep classics,” and “globalized classics,” may highlight the several literary and philosophical interests that the two groups of writers share.  Many of these writers arguably deserve a volume in the highly promising series Classics in Twentieth-Century Writing (Bloomsbury), edited by Dr. Laura Jansen, which will be launched this year with a monograph on Carson.

January 11, 2018

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