One of the greatest poems of the classical world, Virgil's "Georgics" is a glorious celebration of the eternal beauty of the natural world, now brought vividly to life in a powerful new translation. 'Georgic' means 'to work the earth', and this poetic guide to country living combines practical wisdom on tending the land with exuberant fantasy and eulogies to the rhythms of nature. It describes hills strewn with wild berries in 'vine-spread autumn'; recommends watching the stars to determine the right time to plant seeds; and, gives guidance on making wine and keeping bees. Yet the "Georgics" also tells of angry gods, bloody battles and a natural world fraught with danger from storms, pests and plagues. Expansive in its scope, lush in its language, this extraordinary work is at once a reflection on the cycles of life, death and rebirth, an argument for the nobility of labour and an impassioned reflection on the Roman Empire of Virgil's times. Kimberly Johnson's lyrical verse translation captures all the rich beauty and abundant imagery of the original, re-creating this ancient masterpiece for our times.
Virgil was born in 70 BC in northern Italy. He wrote his Eclogues between 42 and 37 BC, when he began work on his second major poem, the Georgics. Virgil is best known for his epic the Aeneid. Kimberly Johnson is a poet and a scholar of Renaissance literature. She is the author of two collections of poetry and the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship. Her poems, essays and translations have appeared in numerous publications, including The New Yorker. Cy Twombly is a well-known American artist, whose paintings are both graffiti-like and beautifully subtle. He lives in Lexington, Virginia and Italy.