Poetry by Phoebe Giannisi in translation by Brian Sneeden

Art: The Isles


 Lotus-eaters II

I will stay here at the bend of the road at the curve

of the bay at the edge of the cape at the peak

of the world mountain the open arms of the sea

at the mouth of the river

I will stay here

the apples red the pears spilling over with juice the tread

of our shoes unworn

going barefoot in light clothes

at the end of summer but winter does not come

so you sit outside until dark

with the sounds of nightingales the lights coming on

over long tables small dinners of twilight

with night-moths drunken dinners

the medicine eaten

the medicine a flower

the medicine the medicine

forgetting

each moment a new beginning

which is I don’t know where I come from I don’t want to go back

medicine

it’s always right now always right now.

 

Ithaka I

at the end of the long table

— foreign dinner guests wine

your head shrouded —

listening with tears to the song

I hear you leaving becoming a stranger

a dream I had in front of the TV

your language does not belong to me

telling the story opening your mouth

the stranger wants to be sent back

with chests full of gifts

on a night like this one blindfolded

with a crew pulling at the oars

and the boat Sleep

before turning to stone will tie off

in beachsand

by the origin of waters

bee jars

the games of little girls

and the grotto

with its two doors

Fame and Forgetting

will accept him without a word

dressed in sheets between

silence and silence


Phoebe Giannisi (phoebegiannisi.net) 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.

Brian Sneeden is the senior editor of New Poetry in Translation. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, Denver Quarterly, Harvard Review, Ninth Letter, Quarterly West, TriQuarterly, Virginia Quarterly Review, and other publications. Translations of his poems have appeared in international magazines in both Greek and Serbian.

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