Soundings of Hellas

John Davidson


John Davidson’s second volume of poetry,  influenced by his lifelong study of the history and culture of Greece.

SKU: 978-1-927242-95-7 Category: Tag:


The genesis of these poems is John’s lifelong study of the history and culture of Greece, allied with his connections since the early 1960s with Greek people in Wellington, as well as visits he’s made to Greece and associated countries over the years. In particular, a recent trip around the Mediterranean both inspired new poems and also motivated him to unearth and rework poems from earlier decades.


The heartbeat of a myth is
felt in Wellington as much
as in Santorini, Larissa or
squeezing Piraeus. And this
myth, carried in smouldering
silence through the body’s
private channels to the firing
brain, is not that of Theseus
or the ghosts of the Lion Gate,
not Diakos or Kolokotronis
but Hellas itself, still shaping
the neurons of the diaspora
and touching cells of those
bonded as adoptive children.

About the author

John Davidson was born in Lower Hutt and lives in Wellington, having retired as Professor of Classics at Victoria University of Wellington in 2010. He has published extensively on ancient Greek literature and mythology and the Reception of the Classics in New Zealand poetry. He is co-author of The Snake-Haired Muse: James K. Baxter and Classical Myth (VUP 2011). This is his third collection of poetry, after Presence in Absence (Steele Roberts Aotearoa 2013) and (with Matthias Seidenstücker) Snapshots of Berlin (Goethe-Institut New Zealand 2014).  He is an Honorary Member of the Hellenic New Zealand Congress.

Additional information

Dimensions 148 × 5 × 210 mm