In his thrillingly contemporary retelling of the world’s oldest epic, award-winning poet Derrek Hines brings us as close as we may ever come to re-creating the power it had over its original listeners more than four thousand years ago in the ancient Near East.
Gilgamesh, the semi-divine ruler of Uruk, is a larger-than-life bully and abuser of his people. In order to tame the arrogant king, the gods create the wild and handsome Enkidu. But after Enkidu and Gilgamesh become fast friends, they defy the gods in a series of outsized adventures that brings Gilgamesh face to face with both loss and death itself. Hines energizes this timeless tale with vivid and electrifyingly modern images, from the goddess Ishtar cracking the sound barrier, to a battlefield nightmare of spectral snipers and exploding hand grenades, to the CAT-scan image of a dying friend. The themes of love and friendship, grief, despair, and hope had their first great expression in this story, and this dazzling new interpretation brings us into its thrall again.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Gilgamesh|
|Release Date: 03-25-2009|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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Here is Gilgamesh, king of Uruk:
two-thirds divine, a mummy's boy,
zeppelin ego, cock like a trip-hammer,
and solid chrome, no-prisoners arrogance.
Pulls women like beer rings.
Grunts when puzzled.
A bully. A jock. Perfecto. But in love? -
a moon-calf and worse, thoughtful.
Next, a one-off:
clay and lightning entangled by the gods
to create a strong-man from the wastelands
to curb Gilgamesh - named Enkidu.
Sour electric fear, desert mirage at your throat,
strong enough to hold back the night,
so handsome he robs the world of horizon -
for no one's gaze lifts beyond him.
Gilgamesh and Enkidu stand
astride the threshold of history at Sumer.
Five thousand years,
five thousand years are gathered aside
so we enter the view from Uruk's palace:
Euphrates' airy, fish-woven halls,
a sleep of reed beds, the eclat of date palms,
wind-glossed corn. And in the distance
desert - the sun's loose gunpowder.
Green rolls up
and rasps along it like a tongue
Here and there,
jostling with the fast-forward business
on the quays, spiralling above the potter's wheel,
buoyed by the clatter of cafe gossip:
up-drafts of ideas, thermals of invention.
For the cut of every thought here
is new for our race, and tart with novelty.
Then look: footprints of the mind's bird
in its take-off scramble across wet clay tablets.
It was also time
when, just as the lemon tree's greenroom
sweats with auditions for tomorrow's sun,
the world swelled with potential heroes.
Have there been two such