Gilgamesh Wilderness

Gilgamesh Wilderness

by Jessamyn Smyth
Gilgamesh Wilderness

Gilgamesh Wilderness

by Jessamyn Smyth


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In Jessamyn Smyth's story collection, The Inugami Mochi, we have known the witch's expansion and joy in her familiar Beloved, and we have known the terrible end. Now, in Gilgamesh Wilderness, the architecture of that great epic becomes a doorway through which the witch staggers on her mad walk west to kill death itself. Sometimes the greatest insight into what being human and mortal means comes through ancient stories and animal archetypes: in the Epic of Gilgamesh, the hero can only be made wise through loss of his wild Beloved, full knowledge of mortality, and utter humbling.

What happens to us when the Beloved is not human, but instead Enkidu, panther of the wilderness? What happens when the Beloved is Humbaba's forest in a literally burning world? What happens when the Beloved is of a species co-evolved with humans for more than 30,000 years, yet constrained to a painfully short lifespan? What happens to the witch when her familiar dies?

A container for meditation, eulogy, elegy, and humbling, Gilgamesh Wilderness is the soul cry in answer to the great human question: how do we go on, hearts open, in the presence of mortality?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781736525838
Publisher: Saddle Road Press
Publication date: 11/02/2021
Pages: 182
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.42(d)

About the Author

Jessamyn Smyth's books The Inugami Mochi (2016) and Gilgamesh Wilderness (2021) are from Saddle Road Press. "A More Perfect Union" from The Inugami Mochi was selected as one of the "100 Distinguished Stories of 2005" in Best American Short Stories (2006). Kitsune is from Finishing Line Press New Women's Voices Series (2013). Her poetry and prose have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Taos Review, Red Rock Review, American Letters and Commentary, Nth Position, Life & Legends, Wingbeats: Exercises and Practices in Poetry, and many other journals and anthologies. She is the recipient of fellowships, scholarships, and grants from the Robert Francis Foundation, Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, and others. Jessamyn was the founding Editor in Chief of Tupelo Quarterly, and Founder/Director of the Quest Writer's Conference. She has taught Interdisciplinary Humanities and writing at Bard College Holyoke, Quest University Canada, Middlebury College, The University of Massachusetts at Amherst's Commonwealth College, The University of Pennsylvania Writer's Conference, and throughout her communities. Her books Koan Garden and Skaha are available on her website:
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