Phoebe Giannisi: by Brian Sneedan

Phoebe Giannisi

Phoebe Giannisi was born in Athens in 1964 and is the author of seven books of poetry, including Homerica (chosen by Anne Carson as a favorite book of 2017 in the Paris Review). She is professor of architecture and cultural studies at the University of Thessaly.


Poetry by Phoebe Giannisi

Translated from the Greek by Brian Sneeden

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.…
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Beautifully translated…The book resounds with an “alien voice from the fence of the teeth.” Alien, not only because it is the song of the cicadas that is constantly evoked and lurks from underneath the pages…, but even more so because the voice here belongs to all sorts of beings, especially the non-human ones."
—Cristina Pérez Díaz, Asymptote Journal
These poems are dynamic in their visual and linguistic movement, “the agitation the ecstasy in life the ego that ricochets within the body the body within the world naked filled with emotions.” Giannisi turns the quotidian into the magical in poems that push against the shifting present moment.
Publishers Weekly (starred)
Phoebe Giannisi’s Cicada masterfully holds conversations on the accuracy of language in the face of mortality and truth.
—Livia Meneghin, Gasher
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