Hopelessly insane: Homer fans

Hopelessly insane: Homer fans

Here Christopher Logue highlights the sheer vital durability of Homer and the magnitude of such sustainability, kept alive through a hard core of ‘Unprofessional Ancient Greek Readers’. I don’t know if I qualify, since the UAGR could refer only to...
Shorter but longer

Shorter but longer

This pithy summary of the difference between prose and poetry is as much as Orlando gleans from the convoluted accounts of a poet to whom he has opened his home, larder, wine cellar, purse and poetic aspirations, in the hope of some helpful guidance.  Not forthcoming....
The modesty of genius

The modesty of genius

Humility comes through Keats’ letters, though he was also quietly conscious of having something the future would acclaim, even when subjected to scathing reviews (who remembers the reviewers now?). ‘I am three and twenty with little knowledge and middling...
Beautiful thoughts

Beautiful thoughts

When Laurie Lee was starting out in life, and was far from being yet an ‘author’, he had some poems published.  This was the appreciative reaction of his landlord. ‘Is it really you?’ he asked fastidiously.  ‘I wasn’t aware you had such beautiful...
Ugly birds and beautiful plumes

Ugly birds and beautiful plumes

An odd image this.  Gleaming helmets topped with bobbing plumes of beautiful birds can create mirages of battlefield glamour, building the height and perceived power of the warrior.  But vultures feed off dead bodies and have a hungry, predatory look to them.  You...
That’s no way to speak to God

That’s no way to speak to God

Here we have Helen’s cuckolded husband Menalaus screaming at God in the most colourful terms.  I like the idea of those lazy gods hanging out in heaven with too much time on their hands and being therefore sworn at as ‘time-free trash’.  Or is it just that, being...
A poem begins

A poem begins

This lovely comment by one of America’s finest and most beloved poets, Robert Frost, on the origins of poems – not in thoughts, but in feelings. ‘A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.  It is never a thought to begin...

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