When Sergius meets Bacchus

What Media Says


About Norman Erikson Pasaribu,
Written by Sarah Holland-Batt, and was originally published in Australian, The,
Jan 08, 2021


Myth, Joseph Campbell once said, is the “homeland of the muses”: a polite way of saying that poets, artists and musicians have plundered more than their fair share of Biblical narratives and Greek and Roman myths. Shakespeare was so enamoured of Ovid’s treasury of myths in the encyclopaedic Metamorphoses that he not only mined them for material — most prominently, the stories of Venus and Adonis, Pyramus and Thisbe, and Philomel — but he also even had characters in two plays, Cymbeline and Titus Andronicus, mention reading the Metamorphoses. Contemporary poets are no different: the recently-anointed Nobel Laureate in literature, Louise Glück, has built a body of work centred on classical myths, including the queen of the underworld, Persephone, and Odysseus’s long-suffering wife, Penelope.

This week’s poet, Norman Erikson Pasaribu, draws on a fascinating myth from a Greek passion as a backdrop to his debut collection, Sergius Seeks Bacchus (Giramondo), translated by Tiffany Tsao: that of the Christian martyrs Sergius and Bacchus, who, as the myth goes, were executed by the anti-Christian Roman emperor Galerius Maximianus.

Read the full article here.