Reading the Odyssey has me thinking about epic poetry in general. I've loved epic poetry for a long time, probably inspired by Tolkien, I suppose. I've read Beowulf twice. There's just something about the combination of a good story and the lovely way the poetry rolls. I've never read Homer before, except for an aborted attempt at The Iliad last year. We're not reading the whole Odyssey in this class, which I'm rather sorry about, but maybe I'll just go and read it all myself when I get the chance. I have the Robert Fitzgerald translation, which seems to be one of the most read.
"The minstrel stirred, murmuring to the god, and soonThat's from Book VIII of the Odyssey.
clear words and notes came one by one, a vision
of the Akhaians in their graceful ships
drawing away from shore: the torches flung
and shelters flaring: Argive soldiers crouched
in the close dark around Odysseus: and
the horse, tall on the assembly ground of Troy....
The splendid minstrel sang it."
Have you ever read an epic poem? Ancient Greek, Old English, Finnish, Irish, Mesopotamian, no doubt lots of others, there is a lot of variation in these poems but they all have a unifying quality.