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The Throne of Labdacus: A Poem

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  42 Ratings  ·  8 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
...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published December 7th 2001 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 2000)
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Steve
Apr 18, 2009 Steve rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
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
Alisha
Jun 11, 2007 Alisha rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, greek
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
...more
John Pistelli
Nov 05, 2016 John Pistelli rated it really liked it
In Literature and the Gods, Roberto Calasso notes that the Romantics' interest in the Greek gods was focused on the gods' own subjection to the divine law of fate:
It is the immediate that escapes not only men but the gods too: "The immediate, strictly speaking, is as impossible for the gods as it is for men." Hölderlin is referring here to the lines where Pindar speaks of the nómos basileús, the "law that reigns over all, mortals and immortals alike."
Contemporary American poet Gjertrud Schnacke
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Anastacia Davis Bersch
Jun 23, 2017 Anastacia Davis Bersch rated it did not like it
It is disappointing not to love this poem by Schnackenberg. I want to, very badly.

Understanding what is lacking is difficult. The concept of this poem is interesting: it tells the story of what happens outside of the story of Oedipus; the play that is-in the mythological voice of Apollo. Written entirely couplets it resembles a lyrical essay that sometimes presents as riddles--other times as a type of philosophical meditation.

There are few qualities that leave me unconvinced at the strength of
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Celeste
Jan 30, 2010 Celeste rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, own
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
...more
Lauren
Jun 15, 2007 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
How cool is a name like Gjertrud Schnackenberg?
Alan
Dec 30, 2015 Alan rated it it was amazing
It was refreshing to finish the year with a great read from an incredibly talented poet.
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