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     Orpheus In Our World: New Poems On Timeless Forces

     by Patricia Keeney


Patricia Keeney is an award-winning poet, novelist, theatre and literary critic. Born in the UK to a Canadian father and a British mother, she moved to Canada with her parents at the age of three
and grew up in Ottawa and Montreal. A graduate of McGill University, she later did doctoral studies in the UK subsequently returning to Canada where she began teaching Creative Writing
and English at Toronto’s York University.

A well-known critic for many years for CBC Radio, Canadian Forum, Scene Changes, Canadian Theatre Review and Canadian Literature, she continues her critical work both nationally and internationally in journals such as Arc and online, Critical Stages and Critically Speaking.

Keeney began publishing her own poetry in Canadian journals and magazines in the late 1980s. In 1988, her first collection of poetry, Swimming Alone attracted serious critical attention prompting the British poet Ted Hughes to praise her “very natural voice” and “the real life burning away in these poems.” Now the author of ten books of poetry and two novels, her poetry has been translated and published in French (winning the Prix Jean Paris in 2003), Spanish, Bulgarian, Chinese and Hindi while her Selected Poems carries an introduction by the distinguished Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko.

She describes her latest volume, Orpheus in Our World as an exercise in poetic archeology connecting the earliest and rarely translated Greek hymns with a post-modern theatrical dialogue. “Yes,” she says, “these pieces can be read aloud like the ancient Greek hymns and played theatrically like ancient Greek drama.” Coming into print at almost the same time as this volume is Keeney’s latest novel, One Man Dancing (Inanna) – a very personal human and political adventure based on the true story of a Ugandan actor who became a political refugee in Canada after almost being assassinated by Idi Amin while working for Africa’s most experimental theatre company, Abafumi. An avid traveller, Keeney has taught and lectured in Europe, Africa and Asia. See Patricia Keeney’s website: Wapitiwords.ca.



Orpheus In Our World: New Poems On Timeless Forces
by Patricia Keeney



Based on the oldest of Greek songs in verse – the so-called Orphic Hymns, written even before Sun and Moon became gods in the pantheon, this breakthrough volume is a conversation between ancient and modern worlds, between myth and contemporary reality. The poetry of the gods enters into an active dialogue with Male and Female in a unique mix that is at once poetry and theatre. Keeney’s Orphics speak to the eternal connections between the grandeur of the cosmos and the intimacies of human psychology.


ISBN 978-0-9975021-2-1
158 pages
$16.95
5.5"x8.5" perfect bound, paper

To purchase this book click HERE.


(excerpt)

Uranus (The Cosmic Dance)

spin daddy spin

whirl around the world
your long bright ribbons 
for every living thing

turn me loose and flutter me
pull me tight again

          revolve yourself                           
          devolve yourself

spin daddy spin

            *

she:  I’m bored  

he:   you’re bored because you’re not passionate about anything

she:  what do you suggest?

he:   do something drastic
        involve yourself



Reviews

"A most valuable book about the joys and pains of wandering through a world both visible and invisible. Poems full of life and music, so tuned and flexible they can be read straight through as a dizzying world tour of the magic of myth and the wonders of the (post) modern. Patricia Keeney’s playful, multi-layered poetry preserves the fire of the original and recasts and diffuses its beauties with full-blown elegance. Her "Orpheus" comes back as a globe-gazer, a time-singer, a human-singer."

Savas Patsalidis, Aristotle University  


"In Orpheus in Our World Patricia Keeney strikes a wonderful balance between ancient and modern voices. In her capable hands, the Orphic hymns sing anew to a contemporary audience. She infuses the hymns with a fresh intensity and relevance, and by adding two 21st century narrators (an unnamed male and female voice who “comment” after each hymn) she creates a dialogue between the old and the new.  As a result, she truly does bring Orpheus into our world—no small achievement."

Eva Tihanyi, author of Truth and Other Fictions and The Largeness of Rescue  


"Orpheus is one of Patricia Keeney's breakthrough works. I say 'one' because she's written many books that recharge our senses, kindle our imaginations. But this one goes into lyric ecstatic places and harmonizes these with wit and memorable contemporary aphorisms: going from beautiful sanctuaries of vision to dialogues that pointedly engage vital concerns. It's the Orphic original spirit manifest in the flesh of words. I read it in an earlier version and said 'Wow...' It is the right response now, to this book. It's a magnificent ride on the waves of a poet who's deeply inspired."

B.W. Powe, poet, philosopher, storyteller, teacher, essayist