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Palimpsests

poems based on the classics that speak to the present

by Chris Mann

Like a modern Orpheus, Chris Mann explores the underworld of the past and returns with peculiarly African poetry, based on the classics that deepens our understanding of the present. In this collection, youthful Narcissus gazes into a mobile phone, wandering Odysseus sails the seas of the Internet, and picknickers beside a river's pool in South Africa encounter the shades. The satirical poets of ancient Rome mock a strangely familiar hunger for sex and power among politicians, dispossessed Britons revolt against the empire, Vandals ruthlessly plunder wealth and land, and tech-savvy Phoenicians colonise the coast of a pastoral Africa. Rising seas engulf the lost city of Atlantis, and a terrible plague devastates the Athens of Socrates, Pericles, and the Parthenon. Palimpsests speaks to the interplay of different cultures and how the past is interwoven in the fabric of the present. It is a fresh, new offering enabling lovers of the classics to experience this world in a unique, modern and African way.

ISBN 9781990992261 | 82 pages | 210 x 140mm | 2021 | Dryad Press, South Africa | Paperback

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eBook ISBN: 9781990992278

Reviews

"Chris Mann's poetry is a feast of verse, a rare dance of words. It is pungent, brave and beautiful with a plethora of influences and impulses from mythology to history, archaeology, architecture, holy books, memory and personal experience. What a delicious mixture Mann offers to the world!"

Professor Mogomme A. Masoga, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, University of Zululand

"Chris Mann's poems, using a variety of metres and verse forms, and many moods and tones, bring Greek and Latin classics to life with verve and subtlety. This collection features an enormous range, a considerable accuracy of detail, but also an immediacy that makes each line ring true. Altogether, Palimpsests is a memorable collection that will make a significant impact."

John Hilton, Professor of Classics, University of KwaZulu-Natal

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