Faber & Faber, £9.99
Memorial By Alice Oswald
Boyd Tonkin is Literary Editor at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Social Policy Editor of the New Statesman and has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes. He has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in literature.
Saturday 29 September 2012
Four centuries after the first full English version of Homer's Iliad, Alice Oswald doesn't so much revise as explode the tradition of translation.
Her sawn-off, scrambled take on Homer's epic of the Trojan War smashes it into poetic fragments that resonate with the clash of arms and the crackle of funeral pyres. Hypnotic imagery and eerie repetitions set the pity and terror of bloody battle against the power of language to commemorate the fallen. Oswald's radiant poetry of remembrance will not be readily forgotten.
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