Literature

Gilgamesh: The Life of a Poem

Reflections on a lost poem and its rediscovery by contemporary poets

Paperback

Price:
$16.95 / £13.99
ISBN:
Published (US):
Apr 13, 2021
Published (UK):
May 18, 2021
Pages:
192
Size:
5.5 x 8.5 in.
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Gilgamesh is the most ancient long poem known to exist. It is also the newest classic in the canon of world literature. Lost for centuries to the sands of the Middle East but found again in the 1850s, it is a story of monsters, gods, and cataclysms, and of intimate friendship and love. Acclaimed literary historian Michael Schmidt provides a unique meditation on the rediscovery of Gilgamesh, showing how part of its special fascination is its captivating otherness. He reflects on the work of leading poets such as Charles Olson, Louis Zukofsky, and Yusef Komunyakaa, whose own encounters with the poem are revelatory, and he reads its many translations and editions to bring it vividly to life for today’s readers.