The Eleusinian Mysteries
$3.99 – $14.99
The Eleusinian Mysteries is a poetic subversion of the ancient Greek myth of Persephone, in which the young goddess abducted by Hades is not a passive victim but a cunning protagonist in her own right who actively resists the narrative that has historically held her captive. Over the course of a series of interrelated narrative poems, she discovers the secrets of her mythological cosmos and ultimately rises to challenge the gods who rule it.
March 22, 2022
Perfect paperback, eBook
6 x 9 inches
Brian Sheffield, performance poet and co-founder of Mad Gleam Press –
Isaac Wheeler discusses myth with the kind of easy scorn one might use when spreading rumors. He embellishes detail using the terrifying lens of comic realism while harshly criticizing the gendered problematics of old words. Like Homero Aridjis, Wheeler knows the danger of an untouched story whose antiquated drama is often allowed to inhabit a changing world looking to reinterpret its values. Ultimately, Wheeler is a poet of dry wit. His careful eye and penchant for language at once beautiful and as casual as a Carlin-esque monologue make the heavy topic of this book immediately engaging. I think this remarkable text could easily become a modern reference point for the Persephone myth.
Maud Burnett McInerney, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Haverford College, author of Translation and Temporality in Benoît de Sainte-Maure’s Roman de Troie (Gallica) –
Persephone, sexy pop princess, mistress of life and death, returns from Hades to post-Soviet Russia with a plan to conquer the universe. By turns ecstatic and debauched, this book is like nothing else in the landscape of contemporary poetry. Read it. It will rewire your brain.
Andreea Iulia Scridon, translator and author of Hotare –
The Eleusinian Mysteries offers a great deal: with precision and intensity, Isaac Stackhouse Wheeler readily assumes the mantle of a tradition beyond fashion. Sure-footed, philosophical, and cultivated, the poet carefully carves a whole and homogenous vision, harmoniously rounded, while his bracing images evoke, in contrast, a thrill of terror. From Classical Greece to the Soviet Union, elegance and candor cohabitate, contoured and defined. Wheeler, observant and comfortable in the vastest of imaginary spaces, uses language as a means to an end with deftness and—what’s more—talent.