Rachel Hadas’s remarkable new book treats the Aeneid as a commentary on our times. Just as Virgil wrote against the backdrop of the self-conflicted, imperial turbulence of Rome, Hadas examines our republic as it veers off into possibly irreversible disorder. The good news, as Hadas reminds us with her characteristic humanity and intelligence, is that individuals and societies often survive crises rather than succumbing to them. Against the jolts and jars of history, she asserts life’s quiet miracles, including, in her case, the generational continuity extending from her revered father to the beloved grandchild to whom this book is dedicated.

— Timothy Steele


Sharply intelligent and sublimely learned Rachel Hadas, one of our most distinguished poets and translators, frames all but one of the Poems for Camilla with epigraphs from Virgil’s Aeneid. Tenderly, cleverly, fiercely, she writes these poems for a newborn granddaughter, juxtaposing an epic tale of a warrior with a girl’s life just begun. For Hadas, the contemporary skyline sits on a classical horizon, and the birth of a child reverberates both with the ancient world and the political shocks of the 21stcentury. A baby becomes a hero, a hero a kind of child, the ancient wanderer a modern migrant. In classical cadences with casual but expert rhymes, Hadas slings the centuries across her shoulder, tackling timeless questions, “Where do we go when we die?”, and attempting to understand “the zany disproportion/between grief and consolation.” With a skill and fortitude uniquely her own, Hadas is at her brilliant best. 

— Molly Peacock




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Rachel Hadas is the author of numerous collections of poetry and essays, and is also a translator, whose verse renderings of Euripides’ two Iphigenia plays were published in the spring of 2018 by Northwestern University Press. Some of Rachel Hadas’s other recent books are Questions in the Vestibule, poems (Northwestern, 2016); Talking to the Dead, essays (Spuyten Duyvil, 2015); and Strange Relation, memoir (Paul Dry Books, 2011). The recipient of many awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry and the O.B. Hardison Award from the Folger Shakespeare Library, Hadas is Board of Governors Professor of English at Rutgers University-Newark, where she has taught for many years.