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Beneath

Perril, Simon
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Shearsman Books
Published: October 16, 2015
ISBN: 9781848614406
100 pages, black & white illustrations

£9.95

Simon Perril’s new collection is the twin to his Archilochus on the Moon, and continues his exploration of the tangled roots of ancient Greek lyric. A nekyia is an underworld story preserving a rite from classical antiquity wherein the living call up the dead, and are questioned about the future. Neobule was the bride-to-be of the first lyric poet, Archilochus-until her father inexplicably called it off and incurred the most infamous poetic wrath in literary history.

The soldier-poet’s scurrilous response shamed the entire family into committing suicide. “Beneath” tracks Neobule’s arrival in Hades; and voices her gradual understanding of shadehood. She may be “a chorus of gasps / no lyre can pluck,” but can still recall being “more shade above / in the mud-brick groves / of kitchens.””

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