American poet Sarah Lindsay and English poet Alice Oswald team up for an intimate evening of selections from their imaginative new collections.
Sarah Lindsay reads from Debt to the Bone-Eating Snotflower, a lyric menagerie of bizarrely imagined personae revealing their secrets, alongside surprising scientific subjects and discoveries layered into quirky, dark-edged poems.
Alice Oswald’s latest is Memorial, an “excavation” of Homer’s Iliad, which through a mix of narrative and musical repetition, becomes a powerful meditation on war and loss.
Sarah Lindsay, the author of Primate Behavior, was born in Iowa in 1958 and was educated at St. Olaf College. Her work has appeared in many prominent magazines, including The New Republic, The Paris Review, The Yale Review, Prairie Schooner and The Georgia Review. She is the recipient of the Randall Jarrell scholarship awarded by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
With her typical, though poetically unusual, scientific fervor, Sarah Lindsay blends fact and faith, sci-fi and the poetic line in a wild new collection. Debt to the Bone-Eating Snotflower roams from deep sea, whale skeleton-eating worms to Iraq and back while reminding us of both the horror and awe present in the natural world. Lindsay’s third book takes us on another rollicking journey into a mind that sees poetry in science and science in poetry. There is no better field guide to the 21st century than this.
Read a number of poems from Debt to the Bone-Eating Snotflower here.
In its vivid, hypnotic and often startlingly imaginative qualities, the poetry of Alice Oswald confirms a unique sensibility at work. From her first collection, The Thing in the Gap-Stone Stile (1996), which was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the T.S. Eliot Prize, her unusual, almost visionary style—personifying Nature and its birds, beasts and flowers; plumbing the historical and spiritual depths of the landscape—has been admired by readers, critics and fellow poets alike.
Her latest work, Memorial is a brilliantly original new poem which is also a translation of Homer’s Iliad, by a poet who is also a classicist. To retrieve the poem's energy, Alice Oswald has stripped away its narrative—the anger of Achilles, the story of Helen—and attended to its atmospheres: the extended similes which bring so much of the natural order into the poem, and the corresponding litany of the war-dead, most of whom are little more than names, but each of whom lives and dies unforgettably and unforgotten in the copious retrospect of Homer's glance.
The resulting poem is a war memorial, written, as David Jones said, ‘in memory of all common and hidden men’, and a profoundly responsive work which gives new voice to Homer’s level-voiced version of the world.
Read The Guardian’s review of and excerpt from Memorial here.