UConn grad student publishes two books on mythology

In addition to creating original poems, Sneeden has translated the works of fellow writer Phoebe Giannisi, a challenge he met with special care as a poet, he said. (File)

Brian Sneeden, a graduate student at the University of Connecticut, has published two works, “Last City” and “Homerica,” which focus on mythology and self in poetry.

Sneeden, a PhD candidate studying English, focuses his works on Greek culture, which stems from a love of mythology sparked as a child, he said.


“For me, Greek mythology has always been there since the start,” Sneeden said. “What’s lingered with me is the poetry of myths and how myths can be regenerative in the sense of the idea of self.”

Sneeden’s original book “Last City”, references stories from the mythologies of nations such as Greece and Ireland and applies modern and personable concepts, he said.

“Myths have this edeficial quality of being there for thousands of years, having been incorporated into popular culture and into song, and being something where you can explore parts of yourself that you couldn’t do without that apparatus,” Sneeden said.

In addition to creating original poems, Sneeden has translated the works of fellow writer Phoebe Giannisi, a challenge he met with special care as a poet, he said.

“What I bring to my translations is not a huge background or familiarity with the Greek language, but rather my background in writing poetry in English,” Sneeden said. “With translating poetry, it has to be a poem in English. It has to move you.”

At this time, Sneeden is working on a creative dissertation involving poetry that is the culmination of over a year’s worth of development, he said.

“It’s taking shape in ways that I’m still figuring out,” Sneeden said.

Sneeden has a BA in English language and literature and drama from the University of North Carolina and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Virginia, he said. As he works toward his PhD at UConn, he credits the university with helping to consolidate his latest efforts.

“I do owe a lot of this to my time at UConn, of course,” Sneeden said. “Having the opportunity to work with professors such as Penelope Pelizzon and Peter Constantine has allowed me to see where the individual poems fell into place.”

For the future, Sneeden said he looks toward continuing his work in academia.

“The hope, of course, is to eventually find a tenure track teaching position in creative writing and translation studies at a university,” Sneeden said. “For me, the future is finding new ways to pursue my passion.”


Collin Sitz is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus.  He can be reached via email at collin.sitz@uconn.edu.