Steven Heighton

Steven Heighton’s most recent book is the novel Afterlands.

Poem: ‘Selected Monsters’

Steven Heighton, 3 July 2008

for Barbara Gowdy

In Florence, circa 1460, Cosimo de’ Medici enclosed a mixed group of animals in a pen and invited Pope Pius II to attend the spectacle, which was meant to determine which beast was the most ferocious: the lion, the fighting bull, the bloodhound, the gorilla, or perhaps the giraffe – an animal then known in Europe as a Camelopard.

‘Holiness, with these...

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