After OvidBy Michael (University of Florida) Hofmann
Ovid's Metamorphoses is one of the great works in classical literature, and a primary source for our knowledge of much of classic mythology, in which the relentless theme of transformation stands as a primary metaphor for the often cataclysmic dynamics of life itself. The British poets Michael Hofmann and James Lasdun have invited more than forty leading English-language poets to create their own idiomatic contemporary versions of some of the most famous and notorious stories from the Metamorphoses. Apollo and Daphne, Pyramus and Thisbe, Proserpina, Marsyas, Medea, Baucis and Philemon, Orpheus and Eurydice - these and many other deathless myths are brought to startling, fresh life in exciting new versions. The contributors - among them Fleur Adcock, Amy Clampitt, Thom Gunn, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, Lawrence Joseph, Kenneth Koch, Michael Longley, Paul Muldoon, Les Murray, Robert Pinsky, Frederick Seidel, Charles Simic, and C. K. Williams - constitute an impressive roster of major makers of poetry in our language. After Ovid is thus both a powerful reenvisioning of a fundamental work of literature and a remarkable sounding of the state of poetry in English now.