The New World
(Princeton University Press, 1985)
Fred Turner's first poem conceived as an epic (it is probably better described as a romance with epic overtones, like Tasso's Jerusalem Liberated or The Fairy Queene). Set in the Ohio Valley four hundred years in the future, it recounts the Parsifal-like story of the hero James George Quincy and the heroine Ruth McCloud, her father Shaker McCloud, the Black general Anthony Manse, and the sinister Simon Raven. James Quincy leads a confederation of county-sized independent Jeffersonian republics to victory after they have been invaded by a jihad of Appalachian religious fundamentalists. The poem is a meditation on the mysterious power of goodness when united with a full Nietzschean awareness of the gamelike rules of any moral system.