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Homer’s Iliad 3: Book 6 and Seferis’s “Astyanax”

Section 17 of Yorgos Seferis’s Mythistorema also takes Book 6 of the Iliad as its starting point. Here’s a link to it in Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard’s translation:

What a moving vision of peace that is: peace and generational continuity among simple, enduring elements of the Mediterranean landscape. In terms of what is directly evoked within the poem, the brief, muted flares of energy and danger in sound, imagery and idea only heighten the surrounding quiet. For me, “Teach him to study the trees” has been one of those lines which stays with you forever when you’ve heard it … Continue Reading

Homer’s Iliad 2: Book 6 and Michael Longley’s “The Helmet”

Looking for a link to Longley’s “The Helmet” I found this site with a wonderful little anthology of contemporary poems and passages inspired by Homer:


This seems to be a subsection of a larger site with links to all the poems in an anthology I hadn’t come across – Nina Kossman’s Gods and Mortals: Modern Poems on Classical Myths.

The specific link to “The Helmet” is http://nauplion.net/HELMET.HTM

I wanted it because “The Helmet” is such a beautiful spinoff from Book 6 of the Iliad. Longley’s poems inspired by Homer are fine in remarkably different ways. This one is like a sharp … Continue Reading

Homer’s Iliad 1 – Heroes and Humans

I haven’t read Robert Fagles’ translation of the Iliad for years. I’d forgotten how gripping it is – how fast the lines move, what a sense of violent action and emotion it gives, how effortlessly it sweeps you through great blocks of story. There really is very little like it for giving you a sense of the horror and pathos of war.

In the past I’ve always read it with a strong sense of sympathy for the Trojans. Most people probably do. After all, they’re fighting not only for their own lives but for their families and the survival of their … Continue Reading