|BROADSTONE BOOKS announces
|Publication Date: June 1, 2015
6"x 9.25" 168 pages
Cloth Edition $24.95
Paper Edition $18.50
Booksellers: Available from
Small Press Distribution
Philip Brady is the author of three previous
books of poems, a memoir, and a collection of
essays. His work has been awarded the Snyder
Prize from Ashland Poetry Press, a Gold Medal
from ForeWord, an Ohioana Poetry Award, five
Individual Artist Fellowships and a Governor’s
Award from the Ohio Arts Council, and a Thayer
Fellowship. He is executive director of Etruscan
Press and professor of English at Youngstown
State University. He also teaches in the low-
residency program at Wilkes University. He
plays in the New-Celtic band, Brady’s Leap.
Cover & design by Laurie Powers
Poised between myth and time, Philip Brady's To Banquet with the Ethiopians: A
Memoir of Life Before the Alphabet is a sprawling, genre-defying verse epic, an
audacious masterpiece of wit and erudition that blends Homer’s discovery of the
alphabet with a man’s return from near death and a boy's struggle to see the adult
world through the prism of an ancient epic.
With a wink and a nod to Joyce (who even puts in an appearance), as a “scrivener”
recovers from a heart attack he recalls his first boyhood encounter with the Iliad at
a long-ago summer camp. Even with his imperfect understanding of the saga he
realized that the Trojan War, with all its violence and intrigue, was being waged on
a smaller scale right there, by counselors and campers at the New York Police
Athletic League. This intersection of worlds opens the door for Homer to enter,
and a rollicking tale ensues.
As the story is transposed from history and memory into myth, it ripples from Ithaca
to Queens, passing through a murder investigation, a hacked computer containing an
ur-version of the Iliad, Homer’s first poetry workshop and his last encounter with
the Muse, a plot to relocate Troy, and a committee charged with writing the sequel.
While it is fantastical and whimsical, this unique and compelling verse memoir offers
a deeply serious meditation on the difficulty of nurturing our dreams in a world
bound in time.
Praise for Philip Brady's To Banquet with the Ethiopians:
"I don’t know of any poet living in America today who would even attempt what
Philip Brady has masterfully accomplished in To Banquet with the Ethiopians: A
Memoir of Life Before the Alphabet. Like a modern-day Homer or Joyce, Brady
set out to re-envision his life as a mythic voyage after undergoing heart surgery and
experiencing his own personal descent into the underworld. At times funny and
often revelatory, Brady writes with incantatory power as he contemplates the arc of
life, moving seamlessly between memory and myth, the humdrum and the
metaphysical, carrying his reader like a boat on a wave with his lush language and
--Nin Andrews, author of Sleeping with Houdini and
Why God Is A Woman
"The work has that sense of the contemporaneity of the ancient, a kind of muscular-
ity and lushness of rhetoric as embodying the physical force of the ancients—
obviously the orality of the performance does as well—and yet the philosophical
layering feels quite immediate, owned, bound to the dailiness of the scholar as
hostage, as exile, as subject not only to time but the power architectures built to
manage our anxiety over time."
--Bruce Bond, author of Choir of the Wells and Peal
"I know no one with Philip Brady’s profound sense of his work’s embeddedness in
history, its origins in the body, its realization of community. Long live the Ethiopians!
--H.L.Hix, author of Chromatic and First Fire,
To read an excerpt from the book in the on-line journal At Length, click here. To listen to an
interview with Philip on the Wilkes Barre (PA) NPR station (including his recitation of the
first section of the book), click here.
|To Banquet with the
A Memoir of Life Before the Alphabet
For more information about the author, including video performances and excerpts from To
Banquet with the Ethiopians, please visit www.philipbrady.com.
ERRATUM: Please note that the copyright page contains an erroneous ISBN for the clothbound edition. The
correct number is 978-1-937968-17-5. The number is correct in the barcode on the jacket. Broadstone Books
regrets this error, which was due to incorrect information supplied to the designer.
|A 2016 Pushcart Prize Nominee!