Tacitus tells, in his
Annals, how the Romans were defeated by "a simple woman."
a chariot with her two daughters, who had been raped by Roman legionnaires,
Boudica made the round of the Breton tribes, inciting them to follow
her into battle and,
in the first round, defeated the Roman invader.
Paol Keineg's sequence of 40 poems, with their
hammered rhythm, their echoes of blows
given and taken, raises a monument to Queen Boudica's courage and,
anachronisms, to the Bretons that have resisted forced assimilation
through the centuries
--down to our own time.
Paol Keineg was born in 1944 in Quimerc'h (Finistere). He has published
poetry in both
Breton and French and now teaches at Duke University.
"This is a febrile work that swings between celebration and disgust,
and funereal.... In Boudica, Keineg has created a work that
moves from the specific
to the universal, a work that would reclaim lost ground, both plitically
This author has found his way through the post-structuralist mirror."
--W.B.Keckler, American Book Review
"To Keineg, the colonizer's history is
written even on the landscape.... Austere and
beautiful as the poem itself, the revenant Boudica probes Brittany's
--Catherine A.Salmons, Partisan Review
"The poems celebrate Queen Boudica's courage
and ability to inspire the Breton tribes
to confederate in the interests of freedom and justice. Keith Waldrop's
heightens the incongruities between high-minded idealism and the gritty,
--Susan Smith Nash, TapRoot Reviews