A British poet
, born in 1926. He is also known as a playwright and screenwriter, but his best known works are free translation
s or adaptation
s of parts of the Iliad
: War Music
(1987) is of Books 16 to 19, Kings
(1991) is of Books 1 and 2, and The Husbands
(1995) is of books 3 and 4. He uses the term "account
": An Account of Books So-and-so. He knows no Greek, and having read earlier poetic translations and been given a close translation, he sets out to retell the story in his own way, with some modernity. In his case I think it works very well, and I enjoy reading Christopher Logue's Iliad.
And all this time God watched His favourite enemies;
Minute Patroclus, like a fleck
Of radium on His right hand,
Should he die now -- or push the Trojans back still more?
And on His left, Prince Hector, like a silver mote,
Should he turn coward for an hour
And let Patroclus steal Sarpedon's gear?
The left goes down.
In the half-light Hector's blood turns milky
And he runs for Troy.
Parts of War Music
were published earlier: Book 16 as Patrocleia
in 1962, and Book 19 as Pax
Other volumes of his poetry are Wand and Quartet (1953), Songs (1959), New Numbers (1969), and Ode to the Dodo. He co-wrote a musical The Lily White Boys (1960), described as "Brechtian".
He also writes for the satirical magazine Private Eye.