My current book is War Music: An Account of Books 1-4 and 16-19 of Homers Iliad by the poet Christopher Logue. This is a reread. I first read this book in 2017.
I did not realize last time I read this that besides this volume (which I have checked out from the library) that there are two more books, All Day Permanent Red and Cold Calls. There is also a collected edition.
From the introduction:
Since Logue does not call his work a translation of Homer but an account of him, some think he is just offering his own Trojan story, as Chaucer and Shakespeare did in their poems. But Logue is striving to reach the essence of Homer, the things most easily jettisoned if one is inventing a contemporary entertainment…
Logue has all of Simone Weil’s disgust for war. But Weil could not admit the fierce joy in battle, which means that much of Homer was a closed book to her. Logue sees injustice and valor, reality and transcendence, all dancing warily about one another. In Homer’s world, the familiar and the strange look at each other in mutual incomprehension and respect.
The first sentence:
Picture the east Aegean sea by night,
And on a beach aslant its shimmering
Upwards of 50,000 men
Asleep like spoons beside their lethal Fleet.