Let the Games Begin: Five Roman Writers

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9781584981152: Let the Games Begin: Five Roman Writers
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Poetry. Interpretive Translation. Classics. Satire. "In LET THE GAMES BEGIN, Peter Valente has borrowed, sampled, excised, and rearranged the canon of Greek and Latin letters to consolidate the extremes which that literature is famous for. Life was just as shitty in Ancient Rome as it is today and for many of the same reasons. Just ask Pliny the Younger. Taking a break from leisurely hunting all morning in the woods of his villa, he sits down to write prose. 'There is so much suffering in the world,' he thinks, and then commences to write. Pliny's cash-rich stoic hygiene is countered by the anonymous cock-obsessed poems of the Priapeia, along with stunning re- visions of Ovid, Catullus, and Lucian. LET THE GAMES BEGIN is a rich, embodied reading of Roman life, which is to say our contemporary life. A life which, like ours, includes not only bloody spectacular violence but a poetry which refuses, beautifully, to 'just accept things as they come and make the best of your situation, whatever it is.'"—Brandon Brown

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About the Author:

Peter Valente is the author of A Boy Asleep Under the Sun: Versions of Sandro Penna (Punctum Books, 2014), which was nominated for a Lambda award, THE ARTAUD VARIATIONS (Spuyten Duyvil, 2014) and the chapbook, Forge of Words a Forest (Jensen Daniels, 1998). He is the co- translator of the chapbook, Selected Late Letters of Antonin Artaud, 1945-1947 (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, 2014) and has translated the work of Luis Cernuda, Nanni Balestrini, Pier Paolo Pasolini, as well as numerous ancient Greek and Latin authors. Forthcoming in 2015 is Street Level (Spuyten Duyvil), a series of photos that document his encounters with gang members, former drug addicts and the homeless in New York and New Jersey. His poems and photographs have appeared or are forthcoming in journals such as Mirage #4/Periodical, First Intensity, Aufgabe, Talisman and Oyster Boy Review. In the late 1990s, he co-edited the poetry magazines Vapor/Strains and Lady Blizzard's Batmobile and wrote articles on jazz for the Edgewater Reporter. From 2010-2013 he turned to filmmaking and has completed 60 shorts, 24 of which were screened at Anthology Film Archives.

Review:

Disguised as translations from the canon of classical Greek and Latin letters, 'Let the Games Begin' is, in essence, the shooting script of a depraved uproarious movie where the aristocratic decorum of Pliny is undone by the original wild boys of the European imagination, Catullus, Ovid, and the authors of 'The Priapeia.' Peter Valente's transgressive cinema shows us in quick absorbing cuts passion, loss, defiled propriety, wicked wit, and of course the final 'translation' all of us eventually get around to reading, death. In Valente's keen renderings, once ancient voices live again in lucid, vivid bursts of words. --Joseph Donahue, author, 'Terra Lucida'

In 'Let The Games Begin,' Peter Valente has borrowed, sampled, excised, and rearranged the canon of Latin letters to consolidate the extremes which that literature is famous for. . . . Taking a break from leisurely hunting all morning in the woods of his villa, [Pliny] sits down to write prose. 'There is so much suffering in the world,' he thinks, and then commences to write. Pliny's cash-rish stoic hygiene is countered by the anonymous poems of the 'Priapeia,' along with stunning revisions of Ovid, Catullus, and Lucian. 'Let The Games Begin' is a rich, embodied reading of Roman life, which is to say our contemporary life. A life which, like ours, includes not only bloody spectacular violence but a poetry which refuses, beautifully, to 'just accept things as they come and make the best of your situation, whatever it is.' --Brandon Brown, translator, 'The Poems of Gaius Valerius Catullus'

This collection of poetry from the era of Classical Rome is an important step forward in understanding our connection to the Latin poets. Peter Valente shows us who we were back then in versions of Catullus, Ovid, and the anonymous poets who were gathered in the anthology dedicated to Priapus. Under skillful hands our wild dreams and ribald realities are presented in all their renegade mastery, teased into contemporary language without losing the sharp edge of the past. Valente helps us to feel deeply the world in which these poets wrote so fervently of the triumphs and tragedies of love and sexuality. --Neeli Cherkovski, author, 'The Crow and I'

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