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Judith Kazantzis The Odysseus Poems  Fictions on the Odyssey of Homer (2010) With original etchings by Jacqueline Morreau

The Odyssey reveals once again its inexhaustible depth of characters, scenes and stories. Judith Kazantzis’ sequence of interwoven voices casts the many struggles with monsters, the seductions and loneliness of love, and the long wanderings of heroes into a vivid meditation for our turbulent times...
Marina Warner

What strikes me everywhere is the unexpectedness of her word choices that surprise again and again through unusual accuracy and governance of tone...
Richard Wilbur

Everything she tries seems to work...[her] uncommon insight into the complexities of male sexuality indicates that the classics are still rich territory for the truly original poet, all the more so for the sheer entertainment value of some of her poems...
James Sutherland-Smith, PN Review 

...[her] strategy recalls Auden’s when he used The Tempest’s characters in The Sea and The Mirror but some of the poems evoke the more beautiful bits of The Cantos.
Herbet Lomas, Ambit


ISBN 978-1-906742-23-2


...extraordinarily seductive, they offer the pure work of poetry, tacking and veering between vernaculars and lyrical writing...
Judy Gahagan, Poetry London

In these chaotic, atomized times it’s especially appropriate to revisit Judith Kazantzis’ fertile revision of Homer’s epic voyage through seas of perception, memory and gender identity. Originally published in a limited edition by Cargo Press, The Odysseus Poems are presented here for a new generation of readers, accompanied by Jacqueline Morreau’s original etchings. The voices of these poems, sly, touching or bawdy, are brilliant feminist reimaginings of the classic original. In monologue, dialogue, letter form and songs, the dramatic narrative turns from satirical wit to moving love poems, conjuring up both the classical world and our own. Odysseus’ unforgettable journey in search of himself is made contemporary with Judith Kazantzis’ virtuosic touch.

In her new book Kazantzis gives further evidence of an ability to imagine herself into many roles... This tender, ironical view of a hero who has captivated the European imagination for more than two millennia is a fascinating development in the work of this justifiably ambitious poet.

Ruth Fainlight


Judith Kazantzis grew up in East Sussex and studied Modern History at Oxford. Inspired by the Women’s Movement, she has made her life in the arts and radical politics. She writes and reviews poetry and fiction, and is a painter. She has published 10 volumes of poetry, including her Selected Poems 1977- 1992 (1995).

The Odysseus Poems are the subtle culmination of a long interest. Her search for the woman’s face and the human face behind the politics of power has found a consistent metaphor in the shadows of the ancient world. In the nineties meanwhile she worked with UK migrant domestic workers and since 2000 she has campaigned for Palestine.

In 2006 Judith Kazantzis received the Cholmondeley Award for poetic achievement. With her American partner novelist Irving Weinman she lives in Lewes. She was born in 1940.


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