Pozzuoli of the Heart: overlapping fragments of the classical past in the poetry of Jamie McKendrick

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In this article I analyse how contemporary poet Jamie McKendrick engages with the past as a kaleidoscope image of fragmentary snapshots of different times and cultures, but in which images of the classical past, and especially of Roman culture, are dominant. In McKendrick’s work, which takes as a model the art of photomontage, these fragments ‘overlap’ and influence each other, producing their meaning at the points of contact. I begin by setting out characteristic ways of conceiving the world in McKendrick’s poetry which facilitate this overlapping of fragments, in particular his interest in the process of bradyseism. I then analyse the contribution of Rome as he explores the power of myth and the nature of empire through his photomontage technique. Finally, I examine how McKendrick’s penchant for the concept of an underworld epitomizes his poetic engagement with the classical, and especially Roman, past.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382–401
JournalClassical Receptions Journal
Issue number3
Early online date7 Nov 2013
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014