Alice Oswald is the author of five previous books of poetry. Dart, her second collection, won the T. S. Eliot Prize in 2002. Her most recent collections, Weeds and Wildflowers and Sleepwalk on the Severn, won, respectively, the inaugural Ted Hughes Award and the Hawthornden Prize. She lives in Devon, England. (Author photo by Kate Mount)
with an Afterword by Eavan Boland
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.
"The most remarkable and affecting book of poetry I encountered this year."
—James Wood, The New Yorker
"An elegy of quite extraordinary power."
—Andrew Motion, The Times
"A concentrated, intense, multi-tasking elegy ... written with a freshness to match Homer's own."
W. W. Norton