Brian Sneeden


Portrait of Brian SneedenBrian Sneeden

Brian Sneeden

Brian Sneeden is author of the poetry collection Last City. He is program coordinator of translation studies at the University of Connecticut and is managing and senior editor of World Poetry Books.

cover image of the book Chimera


In her third collection in English, Phoebe Giannisi lays out her vision for a chimeric poetics that blends field recordings, state archives, and ancient texts. The center of Chimera engages with a three-year field research project on the goat-herding practices of a community of Vlachs, a people of Northern Greece and the Southern Balkans who speak their own language and practice transhumance. In these poems, day-to-day activities such as shearing and shepherding mix with snippets of conversations, oral tradition, and song—locating a larger story in this ancient marriage between humans and animals. Through her poetry and fieldwork, this mytho-historical connection between metamorphosis and utterance takes form in what the Greek newspaper Kathimerini calls “a bold achievement: a studio wherein poems and other texts, other voices, become exhibited.

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cover image of the book Cicada


By one of Greece’s foremost contemporary poets, Cicada is Phoebe Giannisi’s second collection in English. The cicada signifies metamorphosis in this breathtaking, lyrical book, which evokes the spirits of Archilochus, Plato, Empedocles, and Heraclitus. As the translator Brian Sneeden remarks: “The ‘I’ in Giannisi’s poetry is never static, never a fixed point, but part of a process of rebodying the ambient.” Yet, despite the fluid, mythic nature of Giannisi’s poems, they are also exquisitely rooted in the everyday: the sea heard through a window, the murmur of a distant mechanical crane, a damp wind, a photo of John and Yoko. Giannisi is a poet internationally known for her idiosyncratic eco-poetics, as well as her poetic multimedia works and performances, and most of all for her brilliant vision glowing at the borders of language, voice, place, and memory.

“Cicada” originated from “Tettix” (the ancient Greek word for this insect), a commissioned exhibition at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens in 2012, curated by Stamatis Schizakis. Tettix is a project presented through various media such as performances, video and sound works, as well as poetic manuscripts that now belong to the collection of the National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens.

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