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The Throne of Labdacus: A Poem
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The Throne of Labdacus: A Poem

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  31 ratings  ·  5 reviews
Winner of the 2001 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Poetry.
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 2000.

The first warning passing through Thebes--
As small a sound

As a housefly alighting from Persia
And stamping its foot on a mound

Where the palace once was;
As small a moth chewing thread

In the tyrant's robe;
As small as the cresting of red

In the rim of an injured eye; as s
Paperback, 112 pages
Published December 7th 2001 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 2000)
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The subject of Gjertrud Schnackenberg’s book length poem Throne of Labdacus is the Oedipus myth--as told by Sophocles in his famous play “Oedipus the King.” Schnackenberg’s approach will at first startle those familiar with her work. Gone is the lush language of her previous efforts, replaced now by an austere imagism that recalls H.D., in particular, that poet’s Helen in Egypt. Schnackenberg seeks to tell those parts of the story “outside the play,” with the god Apollo providing the fresh viewp ...more
This is a poetic re-telling of the story of Oedipus. The god Apollo is given the task of putting the story to music, and you see the events happening through the god's eyes- even the gods are unable to stop Fate or Necessity. The book is simple sometimes, a bit obtuse at others; it might not make sense to you unless you have a good understanding of the myth and Greek culture in general. She gives a lengthy introduction in the back of the book though, which could be helpful.

Certain portions of th
I read/skimmed this book when it first came out, and remember being much more enchanted. Now that I've read Schnackenberg's gorgeous most recent book, this long poem feels like a warmup to Heavenly Questions. I am an enormous fan of her work, but I just don't feel emotionally connected to this poem at all -- unlike her other work, this book seems to exist in a heady ether that I just can't hold on to.

What is: a leaking-through of events
From beyond the bourn of right and wrong;

What is: a sequenc
How cool is a name like Gjertrud Schnackenberg?
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