The reasons for this blog: 1. To provide basic author information for students, teachers, librarians, etc. (Please see sidebar) 2. I think out loud a lot as I work through writing projects, and I'm trying to dump most of those thoughts here rather than on my friends.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Today has been a little busy, and what writing I did get done was not terribly satisfying. This could be because I'm hitting a difficult patch and must work through it, or it could be because I've started tutoring at night (junior high math and English), and that's taking up some mental energy as I get used to it. I'm hoping I can settle into a routine and my writing brain will have its own compartment of mental energy.

However, I'm pleased in general because a writer friend suggested the Robert Fagles translation of the Iliad, and I got a copy today.

See, here's this part I was looking up for something, where Agamemnon is whining about how it's not his fault he stole Achilles' girl, the gods made him do it, wah wah.

Now, this is Chapman, Keats' pal, at the part where Agamemnon is gearing up for his whine:

"Princes of Greece, your states shall suffer no indignity,
If (being far off) ye stand and hear, nor fits it such as stand
At greater distance, to disturb the counsel now in hand
By uproar, in their too much care of hearing. Some, of force,
Must lose some words: for hard it is in such a great concourse
(Though hearer's ears be ne'er so sharp) to touch at all things spoke.
And in assemblies of such trust, how can a man provoke
Fit pow'r to hear, or leave to speak? Best auditors may there
Lose fittest words, and the most vocal orator fit ear."

But here's Fagles:

"My friends, fighting Danaans, aides of Ares...
when a man stands up to speak, it's well to listen.
Not to interrupt him, the only courteous thing.
Even the finest speaker finds intrusions hard.
Yet how can a person hear or say a word?--
this howling din could drown the clearest voice."

I know I'm still going to have to push to read it because I have the attention span of a gnat, but by g*d, I'll understand what I'm reading!

I was thinking about Keats and his incorrect explorer, and had the thought that maybe he knew it was the wrong one but didn't care because the wrong one's name sounded right for the poem. I could understand that. In fact, I'd think it a bold artistic move, to insist on having the exact right word (sound and rhythmwise, if not factually). After all, his job was to be a poet, not teach a history lesson.

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