Nobody: A Hymn to the Sea
Author: Oswald, Alice
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Binding: Regular Hardback
In Memorial, her unforgettable transformation of the Iliad, Alice Oswald breathed new life into myth. In Nobody, she returns to Homer, this time fixing her gaze on a minor character in the Odyssey--a poet abandoned on a stony island--and the sea that surrounds him. Familiar voices drift in and out of the poem; though there are no proper names, we recognize Helios, Icarus, Alcyone, Philoctetes, Calypso, Clytemnestra, Orpheus, Poseidon, Hermes, and the presiding spirit of Proteus, the shape-shifting sea-god.
As with all of Oswald's work, this is poetry that is made for the human voice, but here the language takes on the qualities of another element: dense, muscular, and liquid. Reading Nobody is like watching the ocean; we slip our earthly moorings and follow the circling shoal of sea voices into a mesh of sound and light and water--fluid, abstract, and moving with the wash of waves.