Greek Jive

"He fell with a thud to the ground and his armor
clattered around him."


War Music, called by its author, Christopher Logue, an "account" of four books of the Iliad of Homer, is not a minor event. Its reception both in its native England, and now here, has been enthusiastic. For, English writing, especially in verse, may not generally be said to have overcome its mortal challenge from the likes of Yeats, Eliot, and Pound, either to assimilate or displace, and Mr. Logue looks, at least here, like he means business. It is fair to say that—compared with the virtual armies of English-speaking poets of both sexes around the world who have developed drab ways of saying less than nothing but no will to stop saying it—Logue looms. He has a voice, he has technique, his audacity is immense, and he manages to say something.

Yet, it was impolitic on his part to label what he has done even an account—a maneuver intended to get him off the hook as a translator (mere or otherwise)—as War Music must simply be judged a new work. Now, I (for one) tend to like this sort of thing. Twenty-five years of rereading have not yet dimmed tire luster of Pound's audacities with respect to Li Tai Po and Propertius, precursors to what Logue does here. But more than to Pound, Logue has apprenticed...

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