Feasting with the Gods

With that, the owl-eyed goddess
Flew away like a bird, up through the smoke.
Odyssey Book 1, line 319 translated by Emily Wilson

Last Saturday, in one of the most beautiful secret gardens in Wiltshire, you would have found eleven members of the Bath Writers & Artists group arguing happily in the shade of a yew tree whether these lines mean that the bright-eyed shape-shifting goddess actually turned herself into an owl at this point, whether she flew up still in the shape of  Mentes, the Taphian leader, Telemachus’ guest-friend or whether she simply flew up as smoke. ( Thanks to Conor Whelan for reminding me of this additional possibility. )  We had gathered to share Emily Wilson’s wonderful new translation of the Odyssey which became for one long sun-soaked afternoon the centre of our world.

IMG_7247

Reading in the round, we shared three of the twenty four books – titled in Emily Wilson’s version A Boy and a Goddess, in which Athena teaches Telemachus how to grow into his destiny, A Princess and Her Laundry in which Nausicaa washes her family’s fine clothes in the river and Odysseus covers his salt-caked manly parts with a leafy branch, and A Pirate in a Shepherd’s Cave in which Odysseus and his companions take out Polyphemus’ eye with a sharpened stake of fire-tempered olive wood. Then in proper Homeric fashion we removed ourselves from horror and set out our round-tabled feast, though there was an unexplained shortage of slave girls to bathe us, rub us with  olive oil and wrap us in fine wool mantles as happened to Odysseus before he feasted with the Phaeacians in Scheria. 

IMG_7230

We need seven more afternoons fully to explore the Odyssey.  More than one of us seemed to have a glimmer of that resolution in our eyes as we scattered home.  Huge thanks to our marvellously generous host and to everyone who travelled from the shires to the magical garden to create this blissful afternoon. 

IMG_7256

A deferential slave brought bread and laid
a wide array of food, a generous spread.
The carver set beside them plates of meat
of every kind, and gave them golden cups.
The cup boy kept on topping up the wine.
The suitors sauntered in and sat on chairs
observing proper order, and the slaves
poured water on their hands.  The house girls brought
baskets of bread and heaped it up beside them.
Once they were satisfied with food and drink,
the suitors turned their minds to other things……

Odyssey Book 1, line 139 translated by Emily Wilson

with VERONA BASS, STEPHANIE BOXALL, SUE BOYLE, CLAIRE COLEMAN, SARAH GREGORY, ANN PRESTON, PETE SMITH, TESSA STRICKLAND, CONOR WHELAN, ROGER WHELAN and SHIRLEY WRIGHT. 

Sue Boyle

Monday 16th July 2018

A Homeric Afternoon

Saturday 14th July 2018

Homeric Afternoon in Sarah Gregory’s Garden with Verona Bass, Sue Boyle, Sarah Gregory and Shirley Wright. ( Bookings taken as on 3rd June)

A Homeric Afternoon

We shall be reading together from  Emily Wilson’s acclaimed new translation of The Odyssey in preparation for our Bath meetup on 28th July.  There is a list of other possible readings for 28th July on the Page on our Header Menu.

PLEASE NOTE that this is closed event for existing members of the Bath Writers & Artists Group and existing Friends & Associates.

 

 

 

Far too much good news!

Am always resolving to keep posts down to a minimum, but this month is proving so fruitful and exciting for Bath Writers & Artists that I have decided to slip in an extra post ahead of time. We are looking forward to such an exciting meetup at the end of July.  And while we wait, so many other good things are rolling in…..

Neptune

Poseidon/Neptune God of the Sea

Our ‘Odyssey’ sequence on 28th July already has a very compelling line up which includes CONOR & ROGER WHELAN reading together ( a father and son first ), SHIRLEY WRIGHT with blood curdling accounts of Circe the sorceress, SUE CHADD presenting the work of Scottish poet Andrew Greig, and further contributions from AMA BOLTON, CLAIRE COLEMAN, LINDA SAUNDERS, SARAH GREGORY and MARGARET HEATH.

We also have two new pamphleteers ready to do their shared launch readings.  Huge congratulations to VERONA BASS and ANN PRESTON who have both worked phenomenally hard to meet self-imposed early summer deadlines which I wrongly thought impossible.

Frome writer ROSIE JACKSON is joining us, to read in our Odyssey sequence and also to introduce poems from our Amazon anthology, The Listening Walk which she and other Poetry Café members edited so brilliantly several years ago. We will be lucky enough to have three of ‘Rosie’s poets’ with us on the 28th, reading the poems she selected and introduced so eloquently for her section, As If the Sea.

I will have the privilege of prefacing Rosie’s presentation with a short introduction to the work of MALCOLM ASHMAN RWA who provided the cover image for The Listening Walk and is now a member of the Bath Writers & Artists Group. Bath poet LINDA SAUNDERS, whose poem provided our anthology title, will read her poem of the same title as part of that.

IN ADDITION…..

Screen Shot 2018-06-24 at 10.49.29

The Journey by Bath artist Jude Wisdom

Bath artist/illustrator JUDE WISDOM, whose solo show has just opened in Chapel Arts, has volunteered to do our first artist’s Q&A session, showing slides of her paintings and drawings on the theme of Journeys and answering  questions about her work.

Sherborne singer/songwriter MIRANDA PENDER is appearing as our first virtual contributor, having sent in a stunning voice file to make up for not being able to join us on the day.

AND…..

We also have news of two exciting new contributors  to our growing group.  Bath artist/poet PETE SMITH is preparing a special presentation for November on the wisdom and healing potential to be found in myth, and in particular in the myth of the heroic journey, which will link beautifully with our July 28th Odyssey afternoon.

And we are looking forward with great pleasure to welcoming artist NIENKE VAN WIJK from the Royal College of Art as soon as she has settled into her new life in ‘the rolling hills of Somerset’.

AND, PLEASE EVERYONE NOTE, WE HAVEN’T EVEN REACHED JULY!!!!!

DO PLEASE ‘FOLLOW’ THIS BLOG if you aren’t already doing so.  It will ensure you don’t miss important news, and also helps move us up the rankings so that other people can find our site more easily.