Corless-Smith, Martin: Odious Horizons: Some Version of Horace

Corless-Smith, Martin: Odious Horizons: Some Version of Horace

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Odious Horizons: Some Versions of Horace by Martin Corless-Smith (Miami University Press, paperback)

Publication Date: September 3, 2019

Publisher Marketing: Poetry. ODIOUS HORIZONS ransacks and revives Horace for our contemporary world. Part translations, part re-visionings, these radical (yet often formal) lyrics offer the stoical, joyful praise for a simple life away from the insidious and toxic world of political power and material obsession. What was Roman is now American and British, and the terrifying horizons that were clear to Horace, the end game of greed, the downfall of the Republic, is here even more alarming as we see rivers rise and hear the drums of civil war once more.

"ODIOUS HORIZONS fast-forwards Horace's Odes, written in 23 BC, into percussive poems of today. As Horace addressed the Tiber, Maecenas or the grass of Mars, Martin Corless-Smith addresses the president, the brown Potomac, the lake of time, and Worcestershire... In luscious crossfire, with brilliant wordplay, Corless-Smith smacks down ode, the address to a particular subject meant to be sung... with masterful, acute control and unexpected ludic shifts amidst motifs of friendship, love, chronos and kairos, war and peace, and an abiding ethical insight... Odious Horizons is consummate poetry for our time."—Norma Cole

"Martin Corless-Smith's versions of Horace bankrupt the heart of its false commodities and plastic gods, robbing us of exactly what we need stolen—desire's guilty gilt that would turn ornate and hollow our simplest cares. As for Horace, so for us: a world of political opprobrium, the alarm of endless wars, needless luxuries. These poems serve as bracing tonic—in their wit, in their earthy care, in their frank kindness—to our age just as they have sung us back to health for thousands of years. What's bitter here is a swig of local beer, and the talk is public talk, our daily cares, our simple loves. What more could any reader ask of a book of poetry than to be invited into the poem itself, and once there, to learn to sing those songs that give us back our ordinary hearts—just as it has given me back mine, just as it will give you back your own."—Dan Beachy-Quick