Monday, July 23, 2018

Gilgamesh Alone, by Steve Gehrke

Steve Gehrke has published three books of poetry, most recently Michelangelo’s Seizure, selected for the National Poetry Series. New poems have appeared or are forthcoming at Poetry, Kenyon Review, Yale Review and others. He teaches at University of Nevada-Reno.

About the poem:
I’ve read and taught Gilgamesh many times over the last half-dozen years or
so, and I’m always most moved by those middle-passages when Gilgamesh has
abandoned his kingdom and is on his own and how frantic and weak this once
powerful character becomes when faced with his own mortality. Given that
Gilgamesh’s fear of death demolishes not only his love for Enkidu, but seemingly
all his worldly ambitions, one has to wonder: how solid would even our most
deeply held convictions be when “truly” faced with the fact of our own mortality.
The poem doesn’t have an answer to that, but it thinks it’s an interesting question
worth asking.

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