Metamorphic: 21st century poets respond to Ovid

Nessa O'Mahony (Editor), Paul MUNDEN (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportEdited Book


In AD 17, Publius Ovidius Naso, the Roman poet Ovid, died in exile in the Black Sea port of Tomis (now Constanta in Romania). His offence had been to offend the emperor, Augustus, for verses that may have touched on scandals in the imperial court, from which he was dismissed in AD 8. Famously grief-stricken, he burnt his manuscript of what would become one of the world’s most celebrated anthologies of verse tales. That work was Metamorphoses, which survived because his friends circulated their copies of it. Written in 15 books and with a cast of characters of more than 200 gods, goddessess, nymphs, fauns, men and women, it was a complete history of the world, from creation up to the present day. It was also a study of flux and shifting identity, of power applied and misapplied, as resonant now as it was in Ovid’s day. Metamorphoses has influenced countless writers and artists over the centuries. In 1996, Michael Hoffman and James Lasdun published After Ovid, which featured work by Hughes and Heaney, among others. 21 years later, to celebrate Ovid’s 2,000th anniversary, editors and poets Nessa O’Mahony and Paul Munden invited poets to respond to Metamorphoses with new poems that explore the many contemporary resonances in that seminal work.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCanberra, Australia
PublisherRecent Work Press
Number of pages201
ISBN (Print)9780648087847
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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