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Christopher Childers, The Penguin Book of Greek and Latin Lyric Verse – review

Christopher Childers’ The Penguin Book of Greek and Latin Lyric Verse is a vast undertaking with a great deal to offer those like me who enjoy reading classical literature but can’t read it in its original languages. Epic and drama are excluded, as is the prose literature, but ‘lyric’ is defined very widely indeed, covering both what the ancients would have understood by the term – poems written for performance to the lyre and in a range of metres associated with such performance – and more broadly short or medium length poems speaking in the first person and / or … Continue Reading

More vivid than the merely ‘concrete’ – Marvell’s ‘The Mower to the Glo-Worms’

When we talk about sensuousness in poetry we tend, I think, to mean the intensity of the sensory evocativeness of imagery and description. We might be thinking of lines like ‘The luscious clusters of the vine / Upon my mouth do crush their wine’ from Marvell’s ‘The Garden’. There, physical sensations of taste and touch are directly referred to by ‘luscious’ and ‘crush’. The sensuous impressions evoked by the meanings of the words aren’t just a matter of meaning, though. They’re powerfully reinforced by sound, and even more by the physical sensations of forming the sounds in our mouths. ‘Luscious’, … Continue Reading