Details

ISBN-10: 0872869008
ISBN-13: 9780872869004
Publisher: City Lights Books
Publish Date: 04/25/2023
Dimensions: 0.00" L, 0.00" W, 0.00" H

Published by City Lights

Metamorphoses: City Lights Spotlight No. 22

Paperback

Price: $15.95 $11.17

Overview

One of Publishers Weekly‘s Most Anticipated Poetry Books for Spring 2023

A pagan elegy for the U.S., superimposing ancient Rome over San Francisco, Evan Kennedy’s Metamorphoses seeks affirmation in change.

“Think of him as a circus Beckett or a Beckett circus or an early Dylan of the early twenty-first century. Think of the pleasure of language as it rises and as it ebbs. Think that you know what to expect and you will be surprised. Meet the author. Evan Kennedy. Say it again. Evan Kennedy. He is The One.”–Lisa Jarnot, author of A Princess Magic Presto Spell

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.

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Reviews

Praise for Evan Kennedy:

"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

"Kennedy seems actively interested in having the writing be identifiable with everybody and anybody's experience. Yet Kennedy is in essence only thereby revealing the process beneath which his practice lies. Intent upon pushing such identification deeper than mere surface associations Kennedy embraces activities/routines that could belong to 'just about anyone, ' thereby shedding much of himself in search of the shared preoccupations of others in order to write anew the freshly forming ideas of self out onto the page."–Patrick James Dunagan, author of After the Banished

Praise for Metamorphoses:

"With a leer as feral as Pan's and a resignation as inventive as Ovid's, Evan Kennedy's new book feels like witnessing the marriage of the Delphic oracle with Madonna. Witty and insouciant, learned and inventive, Metamorphoses is an amazing, sexy book."–Peter O'Leary, author of The Phosphorescence of Thought

"The devotional and visionary poet, the rare writer of consciousness, the still small voice and "confounding microclimate," Evan Kennedy–whose prior triumphs include a "subtractive autobiography" and a lyric account of self mapped onto the works and canticles of St. Francis–continues his ecstatic project by widening, maximizing his embrace. How else "account for everything" but to "take the forms of all living things"? Of scale, plume and pelt; of petal and bark, here he occupies Ovid like a dressing room, busily "cutting confetti for the day I make a wildlife sanctuary of my body." It may be this is the debut of a new genre: the auto-treasury."–Brian Blanchfield, author of Proxies

"His language–some kind of nouveau sermon–breathlessly conjures divine presences while in delis bagging radishes, while scaling impossible hills with baseball bros and sordid queerphobes, barrel-chested men and sneaky sickos."–Noah Ross, author of Swell

"Kennedy's poems enact a cross-epochal, trans-global set of impersonations with famous writers in a giddy quest to locate his true voice. It's a breathtaking heartbreaking ever-inventing whirlwind of language, marked by a voracious hunger for history, and a bit of post-punk bravado queered to the max. Stripped of self-aggrandizement, and awake to the nuances of San Francisco life, he invites us to join him in a discovery of self, and to participate in the recovery of our lost world and its mesmerizing particulars."–Aaron Shurin, author of The Blue Absolute

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Details

ISBN-10: 0872869008
ISBN-13: 9780872869004
Publisher: City Lights Books
Publish Date: 04/25/2023
Dimensions: 0.00" L, 0.00" W, 0.00" H
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