Madison Morrison's Web / Sentence of the Gods / Second


From a surrealized Homeric imitation MM turns to imitate Homer’s experience. (At the end of ARES we also engage HERMES, the last letter of the messenger’s name overlapping the last of the war god’s.) The first half of “S” is MM’s Iliad, the second half, his Odyssey, along with the final episode in Vergil's life. We note the enormous difference in tone between Each and Second, as the latter book dispenses with a fictionalized first person (Alexis Lichine) to adopt an authorial third person. (See here MM’s “Preface to Every Second,” “On the Question of the Personal” and “A Note on Genre,” in MM:SC.) In the emblem the letters of HERMES have been reversed, so that the creator of the alphabet may link up with ARES and HERA. Likewise the order in which these books were composed is not straightforward. Realization was first, Magic, second, Engendering, third, Every, fourth, Second, fifth and Her, sixth. In the prescribed order, however, we are meant to feel a jolt as we move from Each to Second. A singular voice is replaced by a multitude of voices, many textual, some biographical, all interwoven with MM’s sober narrative. This multivocal interinvolvement of text and comment is itself a commentary on Homer (like the figures of Attic drama at the end of Part 1 or the Dantesque death of Vergil at the end of Part 3). Second argues again that “everything is in Homer.”

The full text of Second,1, Second,2 and Second,3

The Gorph, Two Greek Scholars on a Chios Bus-stop Bench
Italian translation of a sestet from Her and of the ending of Second,1

Versions of Ten Poems from Second illustrated by Barbara J. Kline:

Ten poems in Chinese

Ten poems in French illustrated by Claudine Goux

Ten poems in German

Ten poems in Polish

Three poems in Korean

Three poems in Romanian

One poem in Italian

One poem in Modern Greek

Video excerpt: Travels in Greece