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Genesis: An Epic Poem Paperback – October, 1988


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Frederick Turner is an Oxford graduate and is Founders Professor of Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas. He is a former editor of The Kenyon Review. He is also the author of ten books of poetry, a novel, and numerous books on literature, philosophy, and classicism, including the controversial The Culture of Hope: A New Birth of the Classical Spirit. Mr. Turner is also the author of The New World, another epic poem published by Ilium Press.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 303 pages
  • Publisher: Saybrook Publishing Company; First Edition edition (October 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0933071264
  • ISBN-13: 978-0933071261
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,810,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Frederick Turner is an American poet, polymath and academic. He was born in Northamptonshire, England, in 1943. After spending several years in central Africa, where his parents, the anthropologists Victor W. and Edith L. B. Turner, were conducting field research, Frederick Turner was educated at the University of Oxford (1962-67), where he obtained the degrees of B.A., M.A., and B.Litt. (a terminal degree equivalent to the Ph.D.) in English Language and Literature. He was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 1977. His brother is Robert Turner.

Turner is presently Founders Professor of Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas, having held academic positions at the University of California at Santa Barbara (assistant professor 1967-72), Kenyon College (associate professor 1972-85), and the University of Exeter in England (visiting professor 1984-85). From 1978-82 he was editor of The Kenyon Review. He has been married since 1966 to Mei Lin Turner (née Chang, a social science periodical editor), and has two sons.


Turner is the author of ten books of poetry, a novel, and numerous books on literature, philosophy, and classicism, including the controversial The Culture of Hope: A New Birth of the Classical Spirit. He has authored a number of scholarly works on topics ranging from beauty and the biological basis of artistic production and appreciation to complexity and Julius Thomas Fraser's umwelt theory of time. Mr. Turner is also the author of two science fiction epic poems, The New World and Genesis.

Customer Reviews

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Brendan Frost on March 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a really bold project---nothing less than a conscious attempt at creating a founders' epic myth for the colonization of Mars. The science fiction was appealing, but the adoption of epic poetic structure to that sturdy narrative style is what raises this to the 5 star level. There is an equal amount of what I would call mysticism, especially as a new prophet for humanity springs from Martian soil. If you ever got excited by reading Virgil, when you had to translate and put yourself back into time, but still wondered what would be the outcome of Aneas' various adventures, this is for you, except it has at its disposal the tools of modern poetry, and is fueled by a genuinely new epic story. The narrative and poetry are perfectly interfused. Turner is somewhat of a throwback, and Genesis could be taken as an apologia for human imperialism on the grand scale. However, he portrays diversity as a real virtue, and also gives the Malthusian intellectual tendency a fair chance to make its case. Humorous subsections of the poetry descend from the lofty rhythm of iambic pentameter into tetrameter, highlighting his contention as a critic that form is central to the understanding of content. The meter is the message, perhaps? This is one of the most moving things I have ever read.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Glenn McDorman on August 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
Epic poetry has lost its place in our culture. The common reader is not interested in the discipline of verse writing, looking more for a simple and easily-accessible series of actions with a bit of descripition thrown in. Turner's "Genesis" is a tribute to Homer, Virgil, the Arthurian tales, "Beowulf", and "the Song of Roland". Turner's story is excellent, narrative and verse techniques wonderful, and characters deep and complex. Anyone interested in epic poetry or science fiction as a genre should read this great work.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 18, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Genesis" is an epic poem about the terraforming, or environmental transformation, of Mars. It's a beautiful, thoughtful, captivating treatment of a difficult set of environmental, spiritual and political issues. It deserves to be much more widely known than it is, as it ranks with Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles as one of the most moving and unusual literary works about the planet Mars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sax on February 12, 2012
Format: Paperback
It's got everything that an epic poem needs: love and war, tragedy and betrayal, death and renewal, and a grand stage for a great story. It's also science fiction--which is something you don't see very often in poetry--about terraforming Mars. Though the story is a bit too fantastic in places to be plausible, and the ending gets a little sidetracked with hippie metaphysics, it's a glorious read that expresses the values, anxieties, and dreams of its culture, just like any epic poem should.
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