Her foot is pointed like a dancer’s, laces inward,
indicating darkness. The bend in her knee is not quite classical—
the bone protrudes, white-blind, and her calf is mapped:
scar, welt, sun. It hesitates, ostrich-elongate,
and the ribbon knotted at the perfumed hollow of her ankle
The wind out of the deep smells of myrrh and cardamom,
and meat just shy of spoil.
Does she hear the sea far off from her? Does she hear the working
of worms in the ceiling of loam?
So begins The Descent of Inanna, a modern re-imagining of an ancient yet timeless myth. Though based on the original text, Catherynne’s version is a fresh look at Ereshkigal’s underworld and Inanna’s descent into it. In Catherynne’s usual graceful style, we are drawn with Inanna down into the depths and, with a breathtaking end, finally led back towards the light.
“Valente’s version is superb, a wonderfully rich-as-the-earth reshaping of the poem.”
— Hal Duncan, Author of Vellum
Printed on linen paper with a metallic copper cover and spine done in satin fabric. The cover art is based on the Burney relief and was created especially for the book by Aria Nadii. The interior text border, a combination of a traditional Sumerian design, arabesques and stylized fig leaves, was designed by Erzebet for Inanna.
A limited edition of 50 numbered copies. Numbers 1-10 were signed by the author and included a special audio cd of Catherynne reading the poem.