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A Version of Hesiod's 'Theogony' and 'Works and Days'
Categories: 21st Century, Ancient Greek and Roman, Translation
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (96 pages)
(Pub. Aug 2010)
Look to your health. Boreas chills the dawn,
and over the shivering land spreads a veil of mist,
drawn from the river, squeezed from the fist
of winter. By evening, from the wind-torn
skies, merciless rain will often tumble down,
sometimes with storms as the clouds turn inky-black
and thicken, with a flash and a loud crack
of thunder. Everyone fears the farms might drown.
from Works and Days, XLV
The ancient Greek poet Hesiod is best known for two poems, the Theogony and the Works and Days. The Theogony gives an account of the creation of the universe andthe war between the Titans and Olympians, while Works and Days offers plain-speaking advice on everything from how to cut timber for a plough to behaviour best avoided at a holy banquet. Hesiod's Calendar brings each poem to life in two robustly colloquial sonnet sequences. Saxton's fresh and witty treatment re-imagines the original texts for modern readers, in poetry that is faithful to the mythic power and the vivid immediacy of the ancient works. The poet’s introduction and detailed notes provide a fascinating insight into a dialogue between two poets across the centuries.
Cover illustration: Copyright © Rachel Tudor Best.
works and days
Notes on the Poems
Sample Prose Translations
'It's a bold deed to summon up Hesiod in eighty sonnets. The form, both familiar and odd, may shock us into a wakeful reading. For this is not at all an antiquarian version of two ancient texts. On the contrary, Robert Saxton addresses us here and now in the Age of Iron and makes us wonder how much longer Earth will endure our stay.'
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