Logue’s Homer: War Music

For anyone who wants to get a flavour of the Iliad, but finds the classic translations to be a bit stuffy, I don’t think you can do much better than Christopher Logue’s retelling. Focusing on the choicest bits of the poem (books 1-4 and 16-19), War Music is vigorous, coarse, muscular writing which throws in a hefty dose of modern imagery. These rather incongruous similes help to cement the savagery of the war in a way that more traditional translations never quite manage to do. Logue’s poetry is fresh and vivid without ever being irreverent, and once again it has to be read aloud to enjoy the cadences. He has also published Cold Calls and All Day Permanent Red which adapt other sections of the Iliad, and which I’m yet to read.

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