Christopher Logue em entrevista
It is the idea of the poem that has inspired me. I always read Chapman and Pope, just to see what as poets they did. Pope was the last poet to translate the Iliad into English verse. I look at new translations as they come out, that of Professors Knox and Fagels, for example, which is a touch sharper than Professor Lattimore’s. However, these three professors may have been reading Homer all their lives, but he’s failed to teach them what verse is. They do not write verse. They write blank-verse prose, sired by E. V. Rieu, via Lang, Leaf, and Myers out of the King James Bible. It burbles along but it doesn’t scan. Still, such things make a bomb for the publishers. Those who aspire to poetical know-how usually buy Lattimore or a Rieu-type Homer. I have never seen any evidence that any of them get past the introductions. But the professors love it. They are the translation police. It is easy to see why: it keeps Homer in their hands. If they had to teach Homer via Chapman or Pope or even Logue, they would have to teach Chapman and Pope and Logue. And that is, quite frankly, just asking too much. Heterodidacts are like that. Critically-minded scholars, such as Jasper Griffin, M. S. Silk, Charles Beye, W. A. Camps and Malcolm Willcock tell me much more than such translators.
So much of the poetry that is published and praised today seems to be the work of self-indulgent windbags, people who imagine that self-expression is a justification for writing. It is easier to become the president of the United States than a good poet. Any poet writing in English is expected to produce striking phrases, quotable lines, memorable passages, and just plainly beautiful things. And this the minimum.