Cover by Ara Laylo

The Swans of Pergusa
Peter Shaindlin

ISBN 978-0983504191, June 5, 2015
Hardcover, 198 pages, 6 x 9 in.

ISBN 978-0983504160, June 5, 2015
Softcover, 198 pages, 6 x 9 in.

In The Swans of Pergusa, author Peter Shaindlin liberally and lyrically reinterprets selected mythological tales whimsically celebrated by Ted Hughes in Tales From Ovid and originally cast in Publius Ovidius Naso’s Metamorphoses.

The Swans of Pergusa surges dramatically forward from its very first stanza with The Creation of the World, then segues into a mellifluous collection of ancient stories running the gamut from Pyramus and Thisbe to Midas, Pygmalion, Actaeon and the death of Orpheus.

In an abrupt and bold change of course, the book concludes with ‘Epilogues,’ a modernistic distillation of each earlier poetic piece, fusing the ethereal poetic architecture of Pound with the sheer force of Yeats.

Torched isle
Mouth of lava
Scorched heavens

Skin of Sicily
Dry and shattered—
Turned to dust

Typhon rising
Rains upon the warming seas

Catanians, Siracusans
Washed away; Pluto vanquished

Swans of Pergusa
—They knew only spring

— from PROSERPINA, The Swans of Pergusa

Not since Ted Hughes’ Tales from Ovid have we had such a radically new and vibrant reinterpretation of selections from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. In addition to its own intrinsic beauty, The Swans of Pergusa represents a transcendent evolution in the two-thousand year legacy of the original opus.

The release was celebrated at an event in The Hall of Antiquities at the iconic Honolulu Museum of Art on February 25, 2016, and featured an introduction by Stephan Jost, the [then] director of the Honolulu Museum of Art, Theresa Papanikolas, curator [then] of European and American Art, and a special reading by the author.

Said Mr. Shaindlin, “Ovid’s Metamorphoses is a masterpiece for the ages that has forever fascinated me. It was Ted Hughes’ Tales from Ovid that inspired me to revisit and celebrate ten of these timeless allegorical tales in a way that speaks to contemporary society while preserving Ovid’s primeval richness and grandeur.”

When we have passed a certain age, the soul of the child that we were and the souls of the dead from whom we sprang come and shower upon us their riches and their spells, asking to be allowed to contribute to the new emotions which we feel and in which, erasing their former image, we recast them in an original creation.

– Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time

Pictures from The Swans of Pergusa launch event at The Honolulu Museum of Art

Mentions in Modern Luxury Hawai‘i

Modern Luxury Hawai‘i, May/June 2016

Modern Luxury Hawai‘i, July/August 2016