LATOGENEIA is a volume of poetry written by Athenadorus. The poems it contains cover a period of around 25 years of the writer's life. The topics of these poems range from a celebration of the Goddess's gift of human relationships, to nature, to civic pride, to haiku, to amorous peregrinations.
Latogeneia — that born of Leto or Latona (name of the Goddess as Mother of Artemis and Apollo) — is a celebration of one Danaan's life. The association of this volume's title with Apollo, the joyful male among the nine Muses, is appropriate, for the first poem, Prologue starts, "The Nine ethereal Muses I sing...". [Prologue can be read as the first of the attached samples.] This was the first book ever sold by Danaan Press for Athenadorus: some of his friends purchased those early copies as gifts for their gay friends, during Yule of EY 5.3005 (1983 CE).
While a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, Athenadorus worked as an assistant for a professor in the Department of Germanic Languages. Dr. Ralph R. Read was internationally reknowned as a translator of modern German literature; he worked closely with several twentieth-century German writers of renown, writers such as Horst Bienek.
Because of the ravages of a particularly destructive case of juvenile diabetes, Dr. Read had become blind at the age of 36, the year before Athenadorus started working for him. His sight had deteriorated relentlessly until, one Friday morning, he awoke and realized he was completely blind. Despite this, he was in the classroom, teaching, the very next Monday morning. Ralph's devotion to his students and his dedication to teaching (Dr. Read won every teaching award, except one, that was available from UT at the time he was there), his generosity, his amazing acuteness of memory and insight, and his high ethical standards were, and continue to be, a source of great inspiration for Athenadorus.
Ralph R. Read was gay. In his entire life he had had one lover. After they had been together several years, this lover had found himself unable to cope with Ralph's declining state of health, and had abandoned him for life in Oregon. From college on throughout this very trying period, Ralph had found solace in writing poetry. He always kept his poems to himself, and forbad any anyone's ever looking at that stack of typewritten papers stored in a large box he kept in the closet of his bedroom.
Athenadorus would often read his own poetry to Ralph while they relaxed over Bier und Brahms, sitting in Ralph's living room in his tiny house in south Austin. Not only were those readings an opportunity to make use of Ralph's deep understanding of literature, they also gave Athenadorus the chance to exercise his descriptive powers by reciting to someone who could rely only on the words themselves, to rekindle the visions of life in the mind of a once-sighted blind.
Before the complications of diabetes caused his heart to stop in EY 5.3007 (1985 CE), Ralph told Athenadorus something that both gladdened and saddened him. Ralph revealed that, because he had become so dissatisfied with his own poetry after having heard Athenadorus read his to him over the years, he had caused another assistant to take the entire box of his poetry and put it in the trash. That he considered Athenadorus's writing so highly skilled was a source of great pleasure and pride; but to have lost this physical-emotional connection with so true a friend is still a source of grief.
Such was the opinion of these poems held by an esteemed man of letters.
|The only cookbook every published by Continuum Press was written by Ralph Read. When the Cook Can't Look; A Cooking Handbook for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Continuum Press, 1981. ISBN 0-8264-0034-5
This text is ISBN 978-1890-000-04-2, and is available on Amazon.com.