On Our Shelves Now
“The most remarkable and affecting book of poetry I encountered this year.”—James Wood, The New Yorker
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.
About the Author
Alice Oswald is the author of eight books of poetry, including Memorial and Falling Awake, winner of the 2016 Costa Poetry Award and the Griffin Prize. Elected as the Oxford University Professor of Poetry in 2019, Oswald lives in Bristol, England, with her family.
Eavan Boland (1944—2020) was the author of more than a dozen volumes of poetry, including Outside History and several volumes of nonfiction, and was coeditor of the anthology The Making of Poem. Born in Dublin, Ireland, she was one of the foremost female voices in Irish literature. She received a Lannan Foundation Award and an American Ireland Fund Literary Award, among other honors. She taught at Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, Bowdoin College, and Stanford University, where she was the director of the creative writing program.
Luminous. . . . [Oswald] has made a poem that blooms out of slaughter.
Graceful and elegiac.
Audacious, powerful and beautiful.
One of the best books of poetry I’ve read in years.
Remembering on a grand scale . . . with a freshness to match Homer’s own—as if each soldier had died on the day of writing.