Ann Deagon first began writing poetry "vigorously" in 1970, "in some kind of forty-year-old renaissance." Since then her poems have been published widely and have been received numerous awards.
"When I came to forty
that three-headed dog love death and poetry
took me in its teeth and shook me . . . "
Carbon 14 is the result, a counterpoint of serious and ironic excavations into the mythic and the personal past of a middle-aged woman. Although these poems have grown from her lifelong involvement in the Classics and are basically classical in their structure and concentration, their strength is not academic.
Ann Deagon's poems interweave past and present, person, place, and event, with unexpected and often violent insights. In "The Sybil's Bath," for example, the sacrifice of a young girls to a god leads to unprecedented counterviolence and to questions which are both contemporary and absolute.
According to Deagon, "All identity is in some sense a translation from the Greek: it cannot be defined except with hyphens. The meaning hovers precisely at the hyphen." in Carbon 14 Deagon proclaims her identity as poet-woman, woman-teacher, teacher-poet.