Where is Parnassus now?

Dear Muses? Essays in Poetry by Simon West (Puncher & Wattmann, 2019), a book of essays on Australian and Italian poetry, and especially on the presence of Classical and Renaissance literature in Austral­ia today, will be launched on Wed 9 Oct 2019, 6.30-8pm, at CO.AS.IT, 199 Faraday St, Carlton 3053. Does it make sense to invoke the Muses today? Few of us believe our poems will be better for praying to stola-clad women sitting on a mountain in Greece. Simon West asks the reader to consider the Muse as something more – a vehicle for acknowledging cultural legacies that radiate out from the past and into contemporary Australia. In addressing the Muses we talk to that inheritance. He examines our metaphors for reaching back after inspiration, imagining that heritage, rivers that nourish the red gums across floodplains. He ranges widely, bridging Classical and European interests with a celebration of Australian poets, while asking, always, where is Parnassus now?
Simon West is the author of four collections of poetry and an edition of the Italian poet Guido Cavalcanti. He is represented in anthologies including Thirty Australian Poets (UQP), Young Poets: An Australian Anthology (John Leonard Press), and Contemporary Australian Poetry (Puncher & Wattmann). His third book The Ladder was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, and his most recent, Carol and Ahoy, was published in 2018.

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