Written over a period of twenty years, the poems in this collection chart the experiences of an American living in Greece. This odyssey of sorts is told in four parts, tracing a personal journey from naivete and alienation to identity and belonging. Don Schofield touches upon urban and island life in contemporary Greece that few outsiders see. Skillfully juxtaposing the old with the new, the expected with the unexpected, the historical with the modern, he entertains various themes bringing the past into relation with the present. Seemingly disparate traditions are merged - the pagan with the Christian, American literature with classical Greek. The main speaker often appears as the antithesis of the classical hero, Odysseus, willing to look foolish, lost and bewildered, and at times acknowledging his own moral weakness. Conventional interpretations of myth are redefined as personas from the archaic and biblical worlds examine the nature of desire or the experience of loss and exile on a contemporary stage. By dint of acute observation and innate sensitivity, Schofield evokes a sense of place by working himself into the psyche of the people and the landscape, thus enabling him to enrich and comment on his own experiences. Through this immersion into the other, the author is gradually led to perceive the world more fully and richly, come to terms with his own traumatic past, and achieve a sense of self in a place that comes to be ""approximately paradise.
Don Schofield is professor of English at the University of LaVerne, Athens, Greece. His poems, essays, reviews, and translations have appeared in numerous journals in the United States, Ireland, Japan, England, and Greece. Of Dust, a chapbook of his poems, was published in 1991.