Fiction · Poetry

After Ovid: New Metamorphoses edited by Michael Hofmann and James Lasdun

Image result for ancient greece

What is it about?

A collection of 60 poems by 42 modern poets (including the likes of Seamus Heaney, Simon Armitage and Carol Ann Duffy), After Ovid puts a modern spin on Ancient Greek mythology in free verse. See through fresh eyes the tales of woe, romance, lust, betrayal and power that have become synonymous with Ancient Greece – just try not to get turned into a tree along the way!

Is it any good?

With so many poems by so many different poets, I can’t quite settle on an overall verdict for this collection – on one page I’d be totally engrossed, loving it (for example, when I was reading Io by Kenneth Koch), and then on the next page I’d be bored to tears (I won’t name names). Something about After Ovid rankles of elitism – a sort of attitude that everyone ought to know the intimate details of every facet of Greek mythology; some of the pieces make absolutely no sense unless you spend a good hour sifting through Wikipedia to understand the intricacies of who begot who (hint: nine times out of ten, it was Zeus). Having such a plethora of contributors, however, works really well as it means that, as I said, if there’s one piece that you don’t like, then you’ll probably like the next one. The texture is pleasantly varied. And, overall, it is fun – in it’s own geekish way.

Rating: 7.5/10

How long did it take to read: eight days

For fans of: The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy, Ancient Greek mythology, Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet 

This book tastes like: Red Bull

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