Memorial (the award winning poem by Alice Oswald) is a list of all the soldiers who died in the ninth year of the Trojan war. It's text is a selective translation of Homer's Iliad, missing out the central narrative and focusing instead on its many marginal narratives of ordinary lives and deaths. Alice Oswald will read from Memorial and also from her recent piece, Tithonus - 46 minutes in the life of the Dawn. This poem, a response to the Odyssey, tells the story of Tithonus, whom the Dawn married and made immortal, forgetting to ask that he should not grow old. Spoken in the voice of Tithonus, the poem documents the passing of a single English dawn. You could describe it as a selective translation of the Odyssey, missing out everything but the formulaic line: 'as soon as dawn appeared, early-born and pink-fingered', which it keeps exposing to the light and then translating and re-translating. Like the Odyssey, it is a poem about survival.
Alice Oswald lives in Devon and is married with three children. Dart, her second collection, won the T. S. Eliot Prize in 2002. Her third collection, Woods etc, was a Poetry Book Society Choice and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection and the T. S. Eliot Prize. A Sleepwalk on the Severn appeared in 2009, as did Weeds and Wild Flowers, her collaboration with the artist Jessica Greenman.
Mary Gordon's most recent work is The Liar's Wife, a collection of four novellas, published by Pantheon in August 2014. She is the author of six novels, including Final Payments, Pearl, and The Love of My Youth; the memoirs The Shadow Man and Circling My Mother; and The Stories of Mary Gordon, which was awarded the Story Prize. She has received numerous other honors, including a Lila Wallace-Reader′s Digest Writers′ Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an Academy Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She teaches at Barnard College and lives in New York City.
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