Orpheus Ascending tells the story of the singer who falls dangerously in love, of the beautiful woman who becomes all things to him, and of the underworld king who claims her for his own. It tells how she is abducted and how the hero goes through hell to find her.
Like Salman Rushdie, Nick Cave, Rilke, Cocteau and Tennessee Williams before him, John Gibbens recasts the Orpheus myth in contemporary terms: this time in a strangely altered version of the London music scene in the late 1980s, a retro-future where violent unrest meets government backlash, and where pastoral idyll becomes a refuge from the currents of history.
John Gibbens was born on the Wirral. Educated in West Germany and west Cumbria, he won an Eric Gregory Award at the age of 21. He was deputy editor of The Oldie in the 1990s, and has written a column about second-hand books for the Sunday Telegraph. His latest anthology appearances are in Emergency Verse: Poetry in Defence of the Welfare State (2011) and The Captain’s Tower, a gathering of poems to mark Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday (Seren, 2011). He has also published a study of Dylan: The Nightingale’s Code (2001). He lives in London.