Katabasis: Three Underworlds

I’m delighted that Modern Poetry in Translation have chosen my versions of three descents to the classical underworld as their featured poem of the month. You can read the poems here (and I’d also recommend exploring the wealth of other poems available on the MPT website).

I’m particularly pleased because I’ve loved the originals of these poems for over 20 years: the Ovid is delicate and haunting, the Virgil genuinely shudder-inducing, and Odyssey 11 one of the most sublime and uncanny things in Western literature. I haven’t come close to capturing the fleeting, sublime essence of the originals but I had a lot of fun trying (and I hope you have fun reading the results).

As an aside, the original Virgil passage contains what’s possibly my favourite line of poetry in any language, “ibant obscuri sola sub nocte per umbram” (literally: “they went partially-visible under the lonely night through shadow”), which also provides the title of my first collection, ibant obscuri – to be published by Knives Forks and Spoons Press as part of their 2016/7 list (more to follow on this shortly).

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