Artist Projects

Underworld Lit


Srikanth Reddy

Underworld Lit is a book-length poem, cast in the form of lecture notes for an imaginary course in the humanities. In this work, Srikanth Reddy explores academic satire, a survivor’s memoir, translations from obscure works of world literature and a Borgesian journey through the underworlds of various cultures. Accompanied by a class full of skeptical students, the quixotic protagonist, haunted by the prospect of perpetual night, undertakes to scale the Tower of Babel that is world literature, and learns in the process that learning itself may count for precious little in the final reckoning. “Contrary to the accounts of Mu Lian, Odysseus and Kwasi Benefo,” this speaker discovers, “it is not customarily permitted to visit the underworld. No, the underworld visits you.”