Thursday, January 5, 2012

Christopher Logue, poet

I read All Day Permanent Red when it first came out in 2003 (or perhaps it was when it first came out in this country the year after). It's brilliant poetry. Here's what I said about it then:

[Logue]'s an English poet and occasional screenwriter who has reimagined the first battles of Homer's Iliad. His technique is often quite cinematic, with jump cuts and scene notes, and he renames characters from the epic without batting an eye. His imagery is a mix of historically accurate and wildly anachronistic (arrows carve tunnels through people's necks the width of a lipstick, a footsoldier's shield sprouts arrows as thick as the microphones at a politician's podium) but I felt the dust gritting under my palms and the blood in my mouth. The whole is as startling as a flick in the eye. Astonishing.

Logue died last month but I found myself thinking about him and his work again today as I pondered the next Hild novel--which might start with a big battle.

After lunch, restless, I was idly leafing through the magazines I didn't get around to reading over the holidays and came across the Economist's obituary of Logue. I don't know who the writer is, but I've read their work before: it's consistently fine. And this one is fantastic. You should read it. And if between us we can't persuade you to go read War Music or All Day Permanent Red then your notion of poetry is not mine.

If you've never read it, do so. I promise you'll be shocked awake. The world is worth being awake for.

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