Tag Archives: Christine Smallwood

Potential (Iliad Book XIII)

Let us first look at the calendar. We see the dawn of a new day in the Iliad in Book I, line 477, when the mission led by Odysseus to give Chryseis back to her father Chryses sails back to the Achaean camp at Troy.

The day before, when the mission arrived in Chryse, Thetis told Achilles that, the day before that, Zeus and the other gods had gone to visit the Ethiopians in Oceanus, but would return on the twelfth day (lines 423–5).

It is not clear to me just how the counting is done, but a twelfth dawn comes on line 493, when the gods return to Olympus, and Thetis gets the nod from Zeus that he will honor Achilles, who meanwhile has been going neither to the “place of gathering” (ἀγορή, line 490) nor to war. We are given no details, such as we now see in Book XIII, of how the war has been going.

Two dogs on a stone plaza among the shadows of the bare trees that are behind them
Two dogs play-fighting
Haydar Aliyev Parkı
Kireçburnu, Sarıyer, Istanbul
Saturday morning, February 18, 2023

Continue reading

Some Say Poetry

In a poetry review, a remark on being a student has drawn my attention:

In My Poets, a work of autobiographical criticism with occasional ventriloquial interludes, McLane recalls two “early impasses in reading,” freshman-year encounters with Charles Olson and Frank O’Hara. She writes about not “getting it” but wanting to get it, about a desire to get it that was left wanting by code-breaking and analysis and satisfied by hearing and feeling.

This is from the second half of a “New Books” column by Christine Smallwood, in the Reviews section of Harper’s, July 2017. After quoting Smallwood’s review, I want to say something about learning and creating, in poetry and also in mathematics.

Potted palms with plaster farm animals on hillside behind

Kuzguncuk, 2017.11.05

Continue reading