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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