Correspondence with My Greeks

100 pages
August 20, 2024

COMING SOON! Correspondence with My Greeks is a work at once deeply human and hauntingly transcendent, the full flowering of the poet’s lifelong devotion to the generative power of the word.

Hardcover ISBN 9781639821723 $34.00
Paperback ISBN 9781639821716 $18.00
eBook ISBN 9781639821730 $12.99

Citing a line from Elizabeth Bishop—“The bight is littered with old correspondences”—Scott Cairns avers: “So, also, is my mind.”

Indeed, it was Bishop’s “The Bight”—encountered late in his undergraduate education—that may have first alerted Cairns to one, key, salutary fact of literary history: virtually every work written over the centuries has been to some degree a responsive text, something of an epistolary response to what the writer beholds—the landscape, the heavens, or—as in most cases—another prior text.

In addition to volumes by Coleridge, Keats, Bishop, Dickinson, Frost, Stevens, and Auden, Cairns keeps collections by his beloved Greeks—Kavafy, Elytis, and Seferis—on his writing desk. In corresponding with them, he engages some of the profound and recurring themes of his distinguished career: the mystery of creation (and its absent/present Creator), the sense that every word—every term—proves to be less a terminus than a point of departure, and a vision of inexhaustible Love transcending all apparent limits, all neat binaries, including that of heaven and hell. These poets have served as his mentors, his provocateurs, and—in his mind at least—his primary audience.

Correspondence with My Greeks is a work at once deeply human and hauntingly transcendent, the full flowering of the poet’s lifelong devotion to the generative power of the word.