Does it make sense to invoke the Muses today? Few of us believe our poems will be better for praying to stola-clad women sitting on a mountain in Greece. This book asks the reader to consider the Muse as something more – a vehicle for acknowledging cultural legacies that radiate out from the past and into contemporary Australia. In addressing the Muses we talk to that inheritance. In these essays Simon West examines our metaphors for reaching back after inspiration. Rather than cultural rubble ripe for plunder, he celebrates our waterways in imagining that heritage, rivers that nourish the red gums across floodplains. In doing so he ranges widely, bridging Classical and European interests with a celebration of Australian poets, while asking, always, where is Parnassus now?