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City Lights Publishers

Metamorphoses: City Lights Spotlight No. 22

Metamorphoses: City Lights Spotlight No. 22

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ISBN:9780872869004

A pagan elegy for the U.S., superimposing ancient Rome over San Francisco, Evan Kennedy's Metamorphoses seeks affirmation in change. "What stands out most in Evan Kennedy's poetry are its interlinks. What might appear at first as stylistic or syntactic innovation, and indeed is also that, turns back in order to link or relink the various delusory tenses (past, present, future) of a biomass of innocence or humility, Blakean maybe, or Wordsworthian."--Bruce Boone, Jacket2 Metamorphoses springs from Ovid's epic poem to explore the slipperiness of identity. In poems that shift registers from travelogue to elegy, from nature documentary to a simple record of the realities of daily life, Kennedy focuses on transformation, personal and collective, in an empire in decline, in a world transfigured by ecological upheaval. Like a fever dream over Gibbon's Decline and Fall, Kennedy has one foot in Ancient Rome and the other in contemporary San Francisco, acknowledging the "transformations of this city [he] loves" into "awful condos of steel and glass" alongside Victorian homes. The poet shores up fragments against this cultural decadence through the cultivation of a wry pagan mysticism, whether he's offering devotions to Attis and Apollo, banishing Madonna from his pantheon, or placing twink emperor and notorious prankster Elagabalus in the East Bay. The book's transformations even extend to its central conceit, as Kafka bursts into the proceedings to dispute Ovid's claim to the laurel.


  • | Author: Evan Kennedy
  • | Publisher: City Lights Publishers
  • | Publication Date: Mar 21, 2023
  • | Number of Pages: 77 pages
  • | Language: English
  • | Binding: Paperback
  • | ISBN-10: 0872869008
  • | ISBN-13: 9780872869004
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