Memorial: A Version of Homer's Iliad

Memorial: A Version of Homer's Iliad

by Alice Oswald
     
 

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In this daring new work, the poet Alice Oswald strips away the narrative of the Iliad—the anger of Achilles, the story of Helen—in favor of attending to its atmospheres: the extended similes that bring so much of the natural order into the poem and the corresponding litany of the war-dead, most of whom are little more than names but each of

Overview

In this daring new work, the poet Alice Oswald strips away the narrative of the Iliad—the anger of Achilles, the story of Helen—in favor of attending to its atmospheres: the extended similes that bring so much of the natural order into the poem and the corresponding litany of the war-dead, most of whom are little more than names but each of whom lives and dies unforgettably and unforgotten in the copious retrospect of Homer’s glance. The resulting poem is a war memorial and a profoundly responsive work that gives new voice to Homer’s level-voiced version of the world. Through a mix of narrative and musical repetition, the sequence becomes a meditation on the loss of human life.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review
The life of the Iliad has vanished here—life often petty, grumpy, ridiculous, but always aware of mortality. Yet reducing the brute struggle of epic to bottom-column obits, focusing on the minor kings and hapless grunts, underlines the shocking waste of these deaths. Oswald's war memorial has taken the forgotten names and chiseled them in marble. She has made a poem that blooms out of slaughter.
—William Logan
New York Times Book Review
“Luminous. . . . [Oswald] has made a poem that blooms out of slaughter.”
New York Daily News
“Graceful and elegiac.”
NPR
“Audacious, powerful and beautiful.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“One of the best books of poetry I’ve read in years.”
Observer
“Remembering on a grand scale . . . with a freshness to match Homer’s own—as if each soldier had died on the day of writing.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393088670
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
09/10/2012
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
112
Sales rank:
776,864
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

Alice Oswald is the author of five previous books of poetry. She has been awarded the T.S. Eliot Prize and the Forward Poetry Prize. She lives in Devon, England.

Eavan Boland was born in Dublin. The author of more than a dozen volumes of poetry and nonfiction, she is a professor and the director of the Creative Writing program at Stanford University.

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