Odious Horizons ransacks and revives Horace for our contemporary world. Part translations, part re-visionings, these radical (yet often formal) lyrics oer the stoical, joyful praise for a simple life away from the insidious and toxic world of political power and material obsession. What was Roman is now American and British, and the terrifying horizons that were clear to Horace, the end game of greed, the downfall of the Republic, is here even more alarming as we see rivers rise and hear the drums of civil war once more.
Reviews & such
- Ventriloquist’s Transposition: A Conversation Concerning Martin Corless-Smith’s Odious Horizons,” Tom Snarsky and Danielle Rose in Dovecote: Winter 2020
- Here’s Horace arriving in the 21st century, seeking solace where he can, even in England: not the Augustan but still the mindful Horace, keeping his hand in while keeping an eye out: a Horace who won’t waste a word, a pithy world-wary Horace, friend well-met in such gobby times.
- Odious Horizons fast-forwards Horace’s Odes, written in 23 BC, into percussive poems of today. As Horace addressed the Tiber, Maecenas or the grass of Mars, Martin Corless-Smith addresses the president, the brown Potomac, the lake of time, and Worcestershire…In luscious crossre, with brilliant wordplay, Corless-Smith smacks down ode, the address to a particular subject meant to be sung…with masterful, acute control and unexpected ludic shifts amidst motifs of friendship, love, chronos and kairos, war and peace, and an abiding ethical insight…Odious Horizons is consummate poetry for our time.
- Martin Corless-Smith’s versions of Horace bankrupt the heart of its false commodities and plastic gods, robbing us of exactly what we need stolen—desire’s guilty gilt that would turn ornate and hollow our simplest cares. As for Horace, so for us: a world of political opprobrium, the alarm of endless wars, needless luxuries. These poems serve as bracing tonic—in their wit, in their earthy care, in their frank kindness—to our age just as they have sung us back to health for thousands of years. What’s bitter here is a swig of local beer, and the talk is public talk, our daily cares, our simple loves. What more could any reader ask of a book of poetry than to be invited into the poem itself, and once there, to learn to sing those songs that give us back our ordinary hearts—just as it has given me back mine, just as it will give you back your own.
About the Author
Martin Corless-Smith was born and raised in Worcestershire, England. His most recent books include The Fool & The Bee (Shearsman Books, UK), a poetry collection and This Fatal Looking Glass (SplitLevel Texts), a novel. He lives and teaches in Boise, Idaho.