Tag Archives: Ovid’s METAMORPHOSES

‘Fates and Forces’ Wave 2/4: Transformations Poems (Book 13)

15 Mar

TRANSFORMATIONS

George Braque Metamorphoses

February 2013-March 2014

17 poets, 15 months, creating 1 contemporary reworking of Ovid’s Metamorphoses

See the Transformations Page for more details or the ‘Present Collaborations’ Tab

__________________

Poems Inspired by Book 13

.Featuring:

James Knight and Nat Hall

.

13 broken pieces of id

by James Knight

.
1

The leaders took their seats, and the common

……….scowled and shook his fist.

.

2

……to do battle with him.

.
exulting in…………………. bloodshed and slaughter.

.

3

……..consider the good of the state.

..consider the killing

.
those who had participated in the robbery under his leadership

.

4

……we fought in the field

………..digging a trench round their fortifications,

…….deceived by a dream

.

attack the leaders with…….words

.

.
my words.

.

.
5

…..and killed

.

.

.

.
beneath the city walls

.

6

.
…..these weapons

you need me to direct your thinking

….I am superior to you

.
………….The blade

.

7

unhappy wife
lost even her

was in flames

.
women………… embraced the statues

..kissed

.
……..dragged her

.

.

8

The girl
..was snatched

.

.
she did not forget herself
….his eyes fixed on her face

.
My only wish is that my death could be concealed from

………..hands

.

9

…..give back my body

.
the knife
…….wife

.
fell

.

10

she made her way to the shore

.

………

……….the sea

.

….body, washed up on the beach

.

.
11

smooth……….. words

captive women

.
uttered barks instead of words.

.
howl

……….poor queen

.

12

……….black smoke darkened

…..black ash

.

.
……beaks and hooked claws

.

13

…………….flames

he saw me, lying with

.
………….sea lay before her

.

…..waters churned over my head

I found myself

.

.

Trojan-Tragic-Transformations

by Nat Hall

.

1. bellissima belligerence

in a city,
not just a toy,
but wooden horse
to set alight, night, scarlet
red;
gullible gods
clashed like titans,
………….blade against blade,
shields against swords
until all walls
washed off their lust
and turn their helmets into
rust

                                …………..

………………………2. tragédie grecque

………………………………………Fallable
………………………………………Anger inside flames
……………………………………...Languid metal to slash your angst
………………………………………Listen to woman’s own burden
…………………………………Out of your death
………………………Fall on deaf dust
…………………Turn your tears into icy blades
…………… Ragged, broken jaw so canine
……… Or turn turtle doves into wine
Yearn for feathers from his pyre.

 

© Nat Hall 2014


You can find more about James and Nat here:

James Knight

http://thebirdking.com/

.
Nat Hall
.

‘Fates and Forces’ Wave 1/4: Transformations Poems (Book 13)

7 Mar

TRANSFORMATIONS

George Braque Metamorphoses

February 2013-March 2014

17 poets, 15 months, creating 1 contemporary reworking of Ovid’s Metamorphoses

See the Transformations Page for more details or the ‘Present Collaborations’ Tab

__________________

Poems Inspired by Book 13

.Featuring:

 Rebecca Audra Smith and Kate Garrett

_

.

Anuis’ four daughters turned to doves

by Rebecca Audra Smith

.

The daughters bring plenty, their hands are full.
They say they learnt of their mother
how to seek growth in acrid ground.

In the kitchen, they make like goddesses,
scatter salt as if the sea’s waters had dried
and crystallised of their tears.

When war came and plundered the country
the girls flew from their houses.
They did not wait to be rescued.

The sky was filled with doves.
In their beaks, olive branches,
the ripening grey-green of their fruit.

.

Tribute

by Kate Garrett

(after Ovid’s ‘Memnon’; for MLG)
 

every grey sunrise
choked with mist
remembers the loss
of a son, & a mother
who once lit up
the scarlet morning.
her crystal teardrops
sweeten the leaves;
she could soften
even Jove’s heart
with her devotion.

.

Hecuba

 

will trade your eyes for lies,
for murder & for greed –
& she will take the snap-
howling jaws & paws of a bitch
not, after all, in disgrace,
but honour:
all the better to drain blood
from Thracian faces;
all the better to prowl nights,
over rocks, under hard stars.

.

.

You can find more about  Becca and Kate here:

Rebecca Audra Smith

http://beccaaudra.wordpress.com/

.
Kate Garrett
.

Metamorphoses Book 14 Overview and Prompts: Transformations Collaborative Poetry Project

27 Feb
George Braque Metamorphoses

George Braque Metamorphoses

TRANSFORMATIONS

Started in February 2013, 17 poets, 15 months,  creating 1 contemporary reworking of Ovid‘s Metamorphoses

See the Transformations Page For More Details

Here we are at the end of February with our deadline for Book 13 poetry being today Thursday 27th February

This post sets out to provide an overview of Book 14 with a deadline for the poems inspired by this  book being Thursday 27th March. I can hardly believe that we’re nearly at the end of this epic poetic journey. 

The latest batch of Book 12 poems went out  on Wednesday and featured KATE GARRETT and ELEANOR PERRY  (here).  The last poem from book 12 poems will be posted out next week and then the book 13 poems will be posted out  across our new season of work starting on Monday.

If you missed out on some of the other  Book 12 poems you can find them  here, here, here . I’ve also created a ‘Transformations Poems Tab’ on the site menu for ease of access if you want to see more.

.

Overview of Book 14: 

Book 14 continues the story of Glaucus and Syclla started in Book 13 with the transformation of Scylla into rock. It also continues the story of the aftermath of the Trojan War and the settling of Rome by Aeneas and his followers. As per usual, in contrast to his predecessors and their ‘take’ on this epic battle,  Ovid focuses on the minor stories of the journey of Aeneas. In particular the book famously features a reverse transformation:  of Aeneas’ ships into nymphs. The book also has within it the last love story in Metamorphoses that of ‘Pomona and Vertumnus’. This tale is significant for its handling of the themes of violence, deception, victimhood and the objectification of women.

 Summary of the Tales in Book 14

. Circe by John William Waterhouse

.
‘Goddess’, he said,
‘Have pity on a god. I beg of you. 
For you alone can ease this love of mine.
If only I am worthy. No one knows
Better than I the power of herbs,
for I was changed by herbs..
 
 
__

The Myths and Key Characters: Glaucus and Syclla, The Wanderings of Aeneas II, Aeneas’ Descendants, Romulus

.Glaucus and Syclla Book 14

..

Glaucus and Syclla:

 Circe (goddess of magic) encounters Glaucus (sea-god, born mortal and turned immortal) and Syclla (a monster that lived on one side of a narrow channel of water). Circe falls head over heals in love with Glaucus when he, ironically,  visits her to get a love-potion so that Syclla can fall for him.  Glaucus pushes Circe away and she is angered hugely, and seeks revenge on Syclla. She puts poison in one of Syclla’s favourite pools and sprinkles magic herbs in it to lure her in.  Sycllla cannot resist, and she goes into the pool waste deep only to find  that the lower half of her body has been transformed into a mass of horrific barking dogs’ heads.  Horrified, Syclla tries to escape from the dogs, but to her dismay she can’t as they follow. The transformation in itself symbolises the fate of her life now as a victim.

.

Aeneas_and_Turnus

..

The Wanderings of Aeneas II

Ovid briefly mentions bits of the story of Aeneas’ (Trojan hero, the son of the prince Anchises)  journey to Italy.  He only focuses on the parts of the story that make reference to transformations.  He almost sidelines Aeneas’ hero importance unlike Virgil’s version of the events.  Ovid does make some extended reference to Aeneas’ meeting with the Sibyl Cumae though.  

However, by preference, Ovid focuses on two  comrades of Ulysses. These  tales are outlined by Achaemenides (son of Adamastus of Ithaca, and one of Odysseus‘ crew) ranging from the story of him hiding from the horrific Polyphemus (giant son of Poseidon and Thoosa)  whilst watching his peers being eaten alive by the Cyclops, to his tale of being rescued by Aeneas. The character of Macareus (one of the Heliadae, sons of Helios and Rhodos) then takes up the tale of his encounters with Aeolus (son of Poseidon) and his time on Ulysses’ ship as well as the flesh eating Laestrygonians (tribe of giant cannibals).

After this Ovid takes us to the island where Circe lives. He retells the story of Circe’s most famous transformation of Ulysses’ men into pigs, (this is the oldest tale of human transformation in the canon of western literature (137)). We hear this tale through Macareus.  However Ulysses manages to persuade Circe to undo her spell and the metamorphosis is reversed.

Ovid  follows Aeneas through his fight against Turnus ( King of the Rutuli, and the chief antagonist of the hero Aeneas) for the hand of Lavinia  in marriage. (the daughter of Latinus and Amata, and the last wife of Aeneas) He tells a sequence of tales and ends up focusing on the tale of Venulus (a representative of Evander) within which he tells the tale of a local shepherd who had mocked some local nymphs and been turned into a wild olive tree (the bitterness of his words represented by the  bitter berries of the tree).

Even the reverse transformation and the warning of the shepherd being turned into an olive tree does not stop Turnus from pursuing Aeneas to the death. Ovid  briefly touches on this tragedy, and we are left at the end of this tale seeing Aeneas firmly rooted in Italy with a large Trojan settlement. All the gods democratically agree that Aeneas should be deified and he becomes a god.

 

Pomona and Vertumnous 

.

Aeneas’ Descendents

Ovid then takes us on a little journey through the other kings of Rome before Aeneas, and settles down to tell the love story of Pomona (goddess of fruitful abundance) and Vertumnus (the god of the seasons) which is the last love story in Metamorphoses as a whole. It is a tale within a tale like many of the others we’ve seen previously.

Vertumnus attempts to seduce Pomona through the power of his words alone. He even tries to dress himself as a woman to fool her. But none of his efforts have any real effect and he eventually resorts to force as like many of the gods before him. Brutality wins out. However, the rape proves unnecessary when Pomona eventually sees how attractive he is without his disguise. This tale is significant for its handling of the themes of violence, deception and the objectification of women and the notion of victimhood.  These themes, having been established, are then followed through in the next story. 

Romulous and  Remus Jean_Auguste_Dominique_Ingres

.

Romulus

After the ‘love story’ of  Pomona and Vertumnus Ovid returns to the history of Rome. He covers the conflict between Proca’s  (one of the Latin kings of Alba Longa ) sons; the rise of Romulous’  to power; and the rape of the Sabine Women. Ovid then recounts Romulous’ deification and how he became founder of Rome and joined the gods under the new identity of the name Quirinus. His wife Hersilia also joins him with the gods ,,,which leads us into book 15……

. 

Themes, Analysis and Relevance

In Book 14 some of the following ideas and themes are explored:

  •  Refocusing on the detail: Throughout the books overtly dealing with the Trojan war (12-), Ovid very deliberately, in direct contrast to say Virgil, focuses our attention on minor stories and occurrences putting the major battle and its calamity into a form of relief. Preferring to focus our attention on emotional issues and their texture, which by their very contrast force us to question the nature of war.
  • Reverse Transformation: In this book we see for the first time the metamorphoses of inanimate objects back into human form in the tale of how Aeneas’ ships were turned into nymphs. At this late stage in the sequence of books he puts a twist on the patterns of transformations.

 nb. In this book we are also introduced to the oldest tale of human transformation in the cannon of western culture, in the form of how Ulysses men were turned into pigs.   

  • The Last Love Story: In the story of Pomona and Vertumnus we see how Ovid questions and addresses notions of power (whether by word or physical force). He does so, once again by focusing on the rape of Pomona. In so doing he questions the notion of love subtly and foregrounds the brutality which underpins much of Metamorphoses’ depiction of love.

.

Things of Interest:

,

Dido and Aeneas:

by Henry Purcell

.

.

 

The History of Rome

 A weekly podcast tracing the history of the Roman Empire, beginning with Aeneas’s arrival in Italy and ending with the exile of Romulus Augustulus, last Emperor of the Western Roman Empire. 

http://www.revolutionspodcast.com/the-history-of-rome

You can scroll through and find some interesting audios on the Trojan War.

Odysseus and Circe:

.

.

 

Optional Prompts and Verse Form

Prompts:  Mirrors, Moon, Sighs, Divinity, Remembering, Consequences, Battle, Desire, Spirit, Friendship
.

Verse Form:  

Ode

An ode has more than one stanza. There are 10-line per stanza rhyming ababcdecde, with the 8th line iambic trimeter and all the others iambic pentameter

See here for more information.

.

Here is  an  audio of the tale of Syclla and Glaucus in case any of you are too busy to read the book.

.

.

Watch out for more poetry inspired by Book  13 and 14  coming out throughout March.

To confirm: the deadline for Book 13 Poetry is today Thursday 27th February.

  __________

References:

Brunauer, Dalma H (1996) The Metamorphoses of Ovid, New Jersey Research and Education Association

Hughes, T (1997) Tales from Ovid, London: Faber and Faber

Liveley, G. (2011) Ovid’s Metamorphoses, A Reader’s Guide,  London: continuum

Ovid (1986) Metamorphoses, World Classics, tr. A.D. Melville, Oxford: Oxford University Press

 

 >>>>

 

 

‘Centaurs and Rumours’ Whisper 3/3: Transformations Poems (Book 12)

26 Feb

TRANSFORMATIONS

George Braque Metamorphoses

February 2013-March 2014

17 poets, 15 months, creating 1 contemporary reworking of Ovid’s Metamorphoses

See the Transformations Page for more details or the ‘Present Collaborations’ Tab

__________________

Poems Inspired by Book 12

.Featuring:

Kate Garrett and Eleanor Perry

_

Rumour’s Kingdom

by Kate Garrett

The hum through the knots
of narrative is palpable
in a chain of red tabloid tops
on a shelf in the corner shop.
The hum runs through the heads
in the queue as you stand waiting
to pay for your pint of milk:

her down the road
him off the telly
a child is missing
their house burned down
adultery robbery assault
someone is guilty
someone’s to blame

And you stop trying to undo
the tangles in the ropes,
let them fall at your feet, ignored.
You smile and nod across the din
of this strip-lit palace, gossip hub,
pushed down into silence.

.

Caeneus

by Kate Garrett

You can survive battle after battle,
but that first one doesn’t leave you.
 
The gods try to replace what they’ve
taken away & never manage
 
a fair trade. If it was in my power
to say this won’t happen again, Neptune,
 
no man or god will twice penetrate me,
see here, my new-found shield of hate …
 
but it’s not. It’s in his. A gift.
My only protection: the change from beauty
 
to beast, the double loss of self;
shards of a girl float in time between us.

.

house of rumour

by Eleanor Perry

.

tithe lust to distil a tongue spirant
the hiss and how thus brusht to blather as
ajar ajar the thresh of pressed echo is
pursemouthed, slight synths bankrupted
and whissing lashlung reeds, the brisk
where gristyl-boned thinning topples
upturned, unshelling seethe and murling
swell. O error in ten thousand shapes, a pulp
slow champing clips of birth or bleed slung
threaded there, and gather stragged yes
lessened or listen maybe scuttled somewhere
hollow that the jawbone knows or vowels
clucking pearls for lightless pores where
slit the curve of graze and fine eyelid.

You can find more about Kate and Eleanor here:

Kate Garrett

http://www.kategarrettwrites.co.uk/

https://twitter.com/kate_garrett

 

Eleanor Perry

http://www.zonepoetrymagazine.com/

.

‘Centaurs and Rumours’ Whisper 2/3: Transformations Poems (Book 12)

19 Feb

TRANSFORMATIONS

George Braque Metamorphoses

February 2013-March 2014

17 poets, 15 months, creating 1 contemporary reworking of Ovid’s Metamorphoses

See the Transformations Page for more details or the ‘Present Collaborations’ Tab

__________________

Poems Inspired by Book 12

.Featuring:

Nat Hall and Rebecca Audra Smith

_

Caenis

by Nat Hall

.

from rosebud to bloodshed,
from jewel to sharp blade
from honey to stallion;

from pure silk to armour
from loose hair to cold blood
from needle to honour –

from pomegranate to fire,
from morning dew to tasteless dust
from peau de pêche to leather skin,

one young nymph wished for
shameless spear,
as token from
His
affection.

Caeneus

by Rebecca Audra Smith

.

A man becomes a mountain-
half man, the men, half horse-
decry Caeneus, tell him-
get back to the womanly occupations
your hands remember.

When he will not, they strip
a mountainside of its trees
uproot a forest.

Caeneus changes, learns
how to grow wings.

.

You can find more about Nat and Becca here:

Nat Hall

http://nordicblackbird.weebly.com/index.html

https://twitter.com/nordicblackbird

 

Rebecca Audra Smith

http://beccaaudra.wordpress.com/

.

‘Centaurs and Rumours’ Whisper 1/3: Transformations Poems (Book 12)

12 Feb

TRANSFORMATIONS

George Braque Metamorphoses

February 2013-March 2014

17 poets, 15 months, creating 1 contemporary reworking of Ovid’s Metamorphoses

See the Transformations Page for more details or the ‘Present Collaborations’ Tab

__________________

Poems Inspired by Book 12

.Featuring:

James Knight and Richard Biddle

_

No Grounds

by James Knight

(Inspired by Rumour)

.

No Ground by James Knight Book 12

.

Book 12

by Richard Biddle

.

.

.

.

You can find more about James and Richard here:

James Knight

https://twitter.com/badbadpoet

https://twitter.com/badbadpoet

Richard Biddle

http://writings43.blogspot.co.uk/

.

‘Greed and Sorrow’ Swipe 5/5: Transformations Poems (Book 11)

6 Feb

TRANSFORMATIONS

George Braque Metamorphoses

February 2013-March 2014

17 poets, 15 months, creating 1 contemporary reworking of Ovid’s Metamorphoses

See the Transformations Page for more details or the ‘Present Collaborations’ Tab

__________________

Poems Inspired by Book 11

.Featuring:

 Adam Wimbush

_

The Cave of Sleep

by Adam Wimbush

.
Meanwhile…Alcyone is lost
Within the threads of blissful ignorance,
Aware the time grains dwindled
She kept entertained by weaving wonder.
Cocooned in her material of memories
Waiting for Ceyx to rematerialize.

.
Within the mellifluous manifolds of mist
She sends scent messages, mind texts, thought codes.
Requesting her husband’s safe return.
They were all unanswered,
Vacuous in the sublime void of prayer plasma.
Alcyones love for her husband Ceyx did not dilate,
It would tarnish the Heaven Zones here on Earth.
So Juno replied and programmed Iris with a mission.

.
>> Fast-forward to Somnus,
Ask him to send a dream clone of Ceyx to Alcyone,
To inject the truth…of her husbands demise. <<

.
Iris armed herself in spectrums,
Stained the sky with her sunset shadow,
Travelling through the thought fog
Wrapping the palace of Sleep.
Now imagine a kaleidoscopic chasm worming through a mountain,
Here be Sleep, were light is reversed,
Were the planets subconscious vapour
Swirls in a strange languid language of silence.
The only sound is from deep within,
The Stream of Dreams babbling,
Powering the Inducing Equipment.
This is the ambient abyss.

.
Iris floats in, sparkling refractions bounce off her,
Illuminating the chamber,
She sees Somnus sprawled out on his cloud couch.
A carpet of phantoms churn lethargically at his feet.
Somnus is spliced within worlds, his mind focus, un-focus,
Constantly sinking, sluggishly he enquires as to Iris’ presence.
Before his head disappeared into the mirror of his mind.

.
>>Sleep…who silences minds…the invigorator.
Order a Brain-Wraith to replicate Ceyx to enter Alcyones mind<<

.
With the message delivered and
Before slumber steals her consciousness
She flees on the bends of rainbows.

.
Morpheus is selected to metamorphose.
His detailing is exquisite,
A real shape shifter.
He will travel through the parallel territories,
On his noiseless wings like a souls shadow,
To pour these words into the dreamers ears…

.
>> …Wife, my image is distorted by death.
But it is I Ceyx.
My spaceship was destroyed in an energy blast.
But the echo of my voice is active
Repeating your name in space.
No more messages to the beyond.
You can still cry stars,
But it won’t bring me back. <<

.
Alcyones mind wriggles awake,
Her arms swiping for the spirit shape,
But he evaporates when she awakens.
Air body, the colour splashes away.

.
Distraught she tumbles into terror.
She plans to destroy herself,
In the self same fashion.
Raw.
Naked.
Molecular Dissipation.

.
Console Soul alone as Ceyx is.

.
To be dust touching dust…
……dream touching dream.

.
After Meanwhile…

.

Linking thought traces to spaces,
A glitch in the thought sea.
A shape, growing, morphing.
Recognition shreds her mind,
It’s the bobbing body of Ceyx.
His skin bubble.
In an astonishing organic flurry,
A screech-emitting bit,
Alcyone is air born, a wing woman.
Her cells regurgitate molecules,
Atoms split. The transformations kicking in,
With the energy of grief.

.
She faintly felt her freaky beak feel for his face,
The structure too solid that kisses couldn’t pass.
She cocooned the cadaver in drowning wings.
Gods witnessing pitied them,
Remixing them both as birds.
Now with parallel fates their love evolves,
Oscillating each year as avian aliens.
They fly on the surreal thermals of thought,
Swooping synapse lovers.

.
Covalent bonds holding strong.

.
Free to create.

 

.

.

You can find more about Nat and Greg here:

Adam Wimbush

http://wrongtriangle.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/Wrong_Triangle

%d bloggers like this: