The poems in Last City by Brian Sneeden accomplish that rarest – and most vital – feat in poetry: they are spells, conjurings, wards. The earth and the stars, the past and the present, life and death – they are all made new, or strange, or singing, here. I cannot imagine a better, richer debut than this.
- Paul Guest, author of Notes for My Body Double
The poems in Brian Sneeden’s Last City speak with an oracular tenderness that only partly disguises their chthonic wisdom. Sneeden guides us through rooms haunted by a “good-bye harvest/ of twice-broken things,” or through the city of Alexandria as seen by its Roman victim Mark Antony: “to him the city casts human shadows,/ the walls a mosaic of arms and legs….” These marvelous poems present a whimsical, surreal view of the world that works its quiet and sly way into deep mysteries. Give yourself over to them, go with them—and where you arrive will delight and surprise you.
- Gregory Orr, author of River Inside the River
A brilliant and original voice. Sneeden’s poetry reaches back through the Greek masters of the last century to their Classical predecessors, and in this journey finds a voice that is agile and entirely spontaneous. He speaks to the twenty-first century loneliness that comes from being connected to everyone and everything past and present, and to our fantasies of a future that will deliver us from this loneliness and perhaps from ourselves too.
- Peter Constantine, translator of The Undiscovered Chekhov
The English debut of award-winning Greek poet Phoebe Giannisi.
"Sneeden is a meticulous translator and a poet in his own right. He brings Phoebe Giannisi's work to life with immediacy and conviction."
- Edmund Keeley, translator of C. P. Cavafy: Collected Poems
"Giannisi's poetry is a wonderful combination of the classical and the underground avant-garde. Trained both in architecture and Ancient Greek, her poems tackle the problem of how to inhabit the spaces we live in — from the abandoned lot and the swimming pool to the page of the book. What a pleasure to have the full Homerica series in Brian Sneeden's lyrical translation."
- Karen Van Dyck, editor of Austerity Measures: The New Greek Poetry
Phoebe Giannisi is the author of six books of poetry, including Homerica (Kedros, 2009) and Rhapsodia (Gutenberg, 2016). Her work focuses on the borders between poetry and performance, theory and representation, and investigates the connections of poetics with body and place. A 2015-2016 Humanities Fellow of Columbia University, Giannisi is an associate professor at the University of Thessaly. She co-edits FRMK, a biannual journal of poetry, poetics, and visual arts.
From the translator's note, published at World Literature Today:
"I first met Phoebe Giannisi in New York, where she’d been a Humanities Fellow at Columbia University, and where she gave me a copy of her book Homerica—which had recently been translated into German. Reading her poems in the original, I was struck by their musicality as well as their rich synthesis of mythology and contemporary life. Compelled, I began to translate the book’s opening poems as a sort of lyrical experiment, playing and replaying the audio recording that came with the book to help me restage the poems’ internal rhyme, alliteration, and metrical variation in English.".