War-musicAdam Kosan at The Quarterly Review:

For more than forty years the English poet Christopher Logue worked in fits and starts on his narrative poem War Music, subtitled An Account of Homer’s Iliad. The poem, which he was unable to complete before he died in 2011, was published in several sections titled War Music (1981), Kings (1991), The Husbands (1995), All Day Permanent Red (2003), and Cold Calls (2005), corresponding, respectively, to Books 16-19, 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, and 7-9 of The Iliad. These books have now been brought together in a single volume that tells the story of Logue’s fragmentary and highly original Trojan War. It benefits from the editorial care of Christopher Reid, who has appended excerpts from drafts for the work’s envisioned final section, Big Men Falling A Long Way, along with notes describing the source and contextual details for each draft. As the first volume since Logue’s death to take stock of his major poem, it is auspicious—in time we can expect Reid’s circumspection and restraint to be expanded on by critics working with Logue’s archives.

This is not to say that War Music is in pressing need of elucidation. Logue was vehemently responsive to his times, a rascal, a provocateur, irritating, incisive. His poetry looks out at the world without being topical. He was drawn to ballad forms and created “poster poems” that were sold and hung around London (these pieces were the subject of a recent retrospective at Rob Tufnell). He was a pacifist who protested against nuclear weapons, a satirist who wrote and edited pieces for Private Eye magazine, and, among other things, an actor, screenwriter, and playwright, who collaborated frequently with artists in various media. He was, in short, committed to a public presence for poetry, and this commitment was crucial to the very particular, undiminished energy that we find in Logue’s work. In fact, it might surprise people that he began War Music in 1959—so brilliant, so new, does it remain in a contemporary context.

more here.