Reflexive Conversations by John Everett Button is a contemporary epic poem which tells the tragic tale of the Devil’s fall from grace and his resulting odyssey away from heaven.
Reflexive Conversations challenges John Milton’s vision of the Devil in Paradise Lost, providing literature its first truly romantic depiction of Satan; a tragic character whose greatest love results in his greatest loss. Button portrays the Devil as an innocent wanderer who, standing at the end of this world, is about to cross over into heaven when the sudden memory of a great love lost causes him to fall off the edge of the earth and into the void between this world and the next. The Devil awakens only to find himself back in the world, embarking on a journey that inevitably leads to his ill-fated destiny.
Reflexive Conversations is a poetic reimagining of the story of Lucifer’s fall from grace and his resulting odyssey away from heaven through the devil’s own eyes. Set in a pre-existing literary universe, Button incorporates both classical Greek references and Christianity in the poem, imagining them from new perspectives, creating new stories that occasionally bump against or overlap with more familiar ones, such as that of the Garden of Eden and Judas’ punishment. Features of the narrator’s story – his desire for immortality, his alienation, his voyage, search for happiness and eventual discovery of love – are imbued with new meaning when the full context dawns on the reader.