Book Review: Poena Damni Z213 Exit


Z213: Exit is the first book in Dimitri Lyacos’ acclaimed Poena Damni trilogy. Originally published in Greek, this is the second edition of Shoestring Press’s English translation of the work.

Z213: Exit follows a fugitive’s journey through an abstract allegorical landscape rendered in concrete images. The book is made up of a series of entries that frequently break into fragmented verse. There is a sense of solidity in these pieces, a sensuality in their approach to rendering the relationship between person and place:

“First light that opens your lungs all around and above and from here onwards the strong smell of the landscape goes with you all along.”

This is Shorsha Sullivan’s translation from the original Greek and she does wonderful work capturing the sound and complex imagery in Lyacos’ poems. There’s a sense of circularity in these pieces, both in word and image:

“And the snail hurries to go back on its tracks, a tale you remember unfinished, wrinkles that still hold a colour on memory’s transient seed, birds that awake the dew on their wings and you leave with them into the all-white frozen sky, but you wake and are baked again.”

This is a fascinating and disturbing book, and a very beautiful translation. Because of this work’s reliance on language and form, it would be wonderful to someday see an edition that includes both the original Greek alongside the English on facing pages for easy comparison. This edition brings Lyacos’ work to English-speaking readers in a slim and accessible volume.

Series: Poena Damni

Paperback: 152 pages

Publisher: Shoestring Press; 2nd Revised edition (October 18, 2016)

ISBN-10: 1910323624

ISBN-13: 978-1910323625