Sad to see that Christopher Logue has died at the age of 85, a poet and playwright whose visceral and blithely free translation of Homer, "War Music", had a profound influence on my own poetry.
In the Fifties, Logue also wrote a pornographic novel called "Lust" for the infamous Olympia Press in Paris, under the ironic pen-name Count Palmiro Vicarion. That alone would have made him a friend, but his "War Music" is such a towering achievement, I cannot imagine any poet of feeling being able to read it and not wish they had written the thing.
Christopher Logue won the Whitbread in 2005 for "Cold Calls", a continuation of his Homeric work. But it's "War Music" for which I will remember him. And the fact that, apart from that belated award towards the end of his life, his talent as a poet was almost never recognised by that shadowy institution, the Establishment. Thus the life of a maverick ends.
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 ...
Buy "War Music" from Amazon UK.