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BOOK OF THE WEEK

BOOK OF THE WEEK

The poems in Ephemeron by Fiona Benson deal with the short-lived and transitory - whether it's the brief, urgent lives of  'Insect Love Songs', the abrupt physical and emotional changes of 'Boarding-School Tales', or day-by-day shifts through love and fear in 'Daughter Mother'. The central section, 'Translations from the Pasiphaë', gathers these themes into a blistering re-telling of the Greek myth of the Minotaur from the point of view of the bull-child's mother - the betrayed and violated Pasiphaë. The familiar legend of the dashing male hero slaying the monster in the labyrinth is transformed into a story of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary violence. At the centre lies Pasiphaë calling for her son: "They took him away from me/and they killed him in the dark, for years." Telling uncomfortable truths, going deep into male and female drives and desires, our most tender and vulnerable places - these poems are both afraid, resolute and brave.

 

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