ENS.2015.5 | 18′
Poem by Anne Carson
Voice & Piano


I. Geryon

II. Meanwhile He Came

III. Geryon’s Parents

IV. Geryon’s Death Begins

V. Geryon’s Reversible Destiny

VI. Meanwhile in Heaven

VII.Geryon’s Weekend

VIII. Geryon’s Father

IX. Geryon’s War Record

X. Schooling

XI. Right

XII. Wings

XIII. Herakles’ Killing Club

XIV. Herakles’ Arrow

XV. Total Things Known About Geryon

XVI. Geryon’s End


Geryon was a monster. Everything about him was red.

So begins Anne Carson’s retelling in verse of the story of the monster Geryon, killed by Herakles for his magical red cattle as part of his labors. This composition sets Red Meat: Fragments of Stesichoros from Autobiography of Red, the first of two novels in verse Carson has dedicated to reimagining Geryon’s saga, originally told in a lost poem known as the Geryoneis (“The Geryon Matter”) by the Greek poet Stesichoros in the seventh century, B.C.

All that remains of Stesichoros are some fragments and a story that he was struck blind by Helen of Troy for slandering or abusing her in print. An enconium then came to him in a dream and, having written it, his sight was restored. The palinode reads simply: No it is not the true story./No you never went on the benched ships./No you never came to the towers of Troy.

Red was written in the summer of 2015 and is dedicated to Rebecca Morgan, without whom it would not exist.