Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Anglo-Saxon attitude

Time for a look what's new over at Stride. Lots of new poetry, for a start, of which I liked these pieces by Matt Fallaize the best.

There's also these reviews, especially those of the Old English Poems and Riddles, and the Poems from Egil's Saga. I like the sound of the extracts from the former, and it's always good to see Anglo-Saxon poetry getting plenty of new interpretations (Jane Holland has an Old English translation appearing in her forthcoming third collection from Salt, for example). The alliterative stress metre that it uses can take some getting used to, but once you've tuned into it, it is, I think, capable of carrying more than just the elegaic tone for which it is usually noted. It certainly demands to be read aloud, so as the review suggests, an accompanying CD might have been a nice idea.

Regulars here will know that I'm a big fan of medieval Icelandic literature, especially the so-called 'family' sagas. Egil's is one of the big three, along with Njal's and Laxdaela, and although I wouldn't say it's my favourite (I'd always go for Njal's Saga), the title character is truly memorable, a psychopath quite capable of writing poetry on the spur of moment to save his life, so this book looks well worth checking out.

1 comment:

Frances said...

Can poetry save lives? If only it were awarded that level of importance in our own society.