First class and Sappho

Welcome back! You can now download our Syllabus with recommended editions and schedule for discussion: Syllabus

For our first session of Brilliant Minds, Spring 2018, we'll be discussing poems and fragments of Sappho. I've ordered Anne Carson's wonderful edition, which offers the Greek text on facing pages. You can visually discern some of the linguistic patterning and poetic devices even without knowing the language.

Back in 2000, I translated selected poems and fragments (three of which were published by William Packard in The New York Quarterly). I recently found my old word processing files and converted them to create an eBook version in both PDF and EPUB formats. A complimentary PDF version is available here: Download Sappho_fragments_180203

(Both versions are available on the Lulu store: EPUB, PDF)

 


Ithaca and the journey home

The Odyssey is a nostos, the story of a hero's return. To get home, Odysseus must journey through the underworld. That particular journey is called the nekyia, and is a key element in the structure of an epic.

As we began to discuss and query in class: just where is home for Odysseus? Where is the Ithaca of Homer's Odyssey. Here are a few resources on that question, including some maps to supplement those included in your book.

Ithaca, generally: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ithaca

Homer's Ithaca: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homer%27s_Ithaca

Geography of the Odyssey: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_the_Odyssey

A wealth of links on the geography, as surmised from the 12th Century to 2010: http://homes.chass.utoronto.ca/~jburgess/rop/pages/bibliography.html

The mystery continued at Odysseus Unbound: http://www.odysseus-unbound.org/

My personal favorite: The Authoress of the Odyssey, Samuel Butler's theory: http://www.joh.cam.ac.uk/authoress-odyssey-1897

An interactive map: http://www.classics.upenn.edu/myth/php/homer/index.php?page=odymap

A map of Homeric Greece:

1079px-Homeric_Greece-en.svg


Links related to books we've discussed

The Blue Guitar

  • The Wallace  Stevens poem excerpts that we read from in class.
  • The 1937 Stevens poem as printed in Poetry.
  • The Picasso painting The Old Guitarist from the Art Institute of Chicago.
  • David Tannenbaum playing Michael Tippet's "The Blue Guitar".
  •  Of the reviews of Banville's book, I've found this one in The Telegraph closer to our discussion.

Nutshell

Alice Oswald