A collage of water stories from the Odyssey, reconstructed as a mesmeric and hallucinatory book-length poem by acclaimed poet Alice Oswald.
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.