Wrath – sing Goddess the accursed wrath
of Achilles, son of Peleus, which caused grief beyond
measure, hurled to Hades many valiant
souls of heroes, and made them spoils for dogs
and every sort of bird, as the desire
of Zeus was being brought to its fruition…
I’m so sick of hearing how great the translations of Robert Fagles are. They’re not bad, if you like poetry with no rhythmic and metrical energy and poise. He’s also too addicted to Pope – a fine poet, to be sure, but not I fear helpful to a translator.
In short, Fagles is overrated. Buy his translations for the essays by Bernard Knox, but leave aside the flacid poetry.
Yes yes yes, God ia a mystery, definite mystery. Like my wife – she’s a mystery to me, but still quite definite. Can’t excuse adultery after all by saying ‘I was lost in your mystery’. They would find my body in the Olentangy River, and then ask her if she knew anything. ‘It’s a mystery’ she’d say, and cash the insurance check.
Apply this analogy to our definitely and mysteriously jealous God at your own convenience.
The ambitions of my contemporaries in the U.S. are so, so…so *modest*. Some are gifted, dedicated poets, but they imagine there’s a virtue in thinking small. There isn’t, not for a poet. Now, one can write short lyrics with an expansive vision. What matters is audacity, talent, and hard work.
Oh, and you have to avoid the MFA traps. If you fall into one of those, you’ll never escape.
I would like eventually to make poems worthy of Homer and Milton, Dante and Virgil, and of course Master Shakespeare. Yes, that would be worth all the time and sacrifice – to make something beautiful, true, and good; something that just might outlive me.
Look, Plato’s really kind of strange. I mean, his writings are all canonical, and supposedly there’s something called ‘Platonism’ in there somewhere, but I can’t find it. Consider – the guy wrote a massive work composed of interlocking dialogues describing an alleged Ideal State as a vast metaphor for the moral person as stable and unified over time, and in the midst of it he condemns representational poeisis. Perhaps my friends there is more going on here than is dreamt of in our philosophy. And then there are those letters – that’s where the strangeness is fully fledged. Yes, dear readers, Plato is much more delightful than the marble statue most make of him.
I have never written a poem using the word ‘ruction’ that was worth a damn.
Each man has his quest.
Weights are lifted, stretches stretched, push-ups have been, er, pushed…up I guess. Take that middle-middle-age!
Now, where’s the pain medicine?