These are the first few poems from a series which is in process. They form the central part of a cycle of poems, Trasimene, based on the lake in Umbria in which Hannibal achieved his second significant victory on Italian soil in the Second Punic War. I visit Lago Trasimene every year and over time I’ve worked on a collection which attempts to link modern Italian lake-life with the historical events which happened there over two thousand years ago. “After Livy” starts with a meditation on Hannibal’s life after he and his army had been defeated by the Romans, something most historians don’t feel the need to discuss at great length. But it moves on to consider the relation between poetry and historical knowledge, in particular issues of individual and collective heroism. Unlike Byron at the beginning of Don Juan,...

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