Homer’s Oldest Poem/NAIDOC Week/Stratford Writer’s Festival – Poetry News Roundup July 12th

Today we look at an article about the discovery of possibly the oldest fragment of Homer poetry. We also take a look at this years NAIDOC week and finally the line-up for the Stratford Writers Festival.

Clay Tablet Holds Oldest Fragment of Verse by Homer

The Iliad and the Odyssey, epics by the Greek poet Homer, have been studied, read aloud and written about for many hundreds of years since they were written. Unfortunately, because the originals were written on papyrus, which rarely survives ancient copies of Homer’s work simply don’t exist. That was until recently when archaeologists in Greece found a total of 13 verses from The Odyssey that had been chiselled into a clay tablet.

The clay tablet has been dated as being from the 3rdcentury A.D or possibly even earlier, making these the oldest lines of poetry to ever be found in Greece.

The tablet was discovered during a three-year excavation of the ruins of the ancient city Olympia near the ruins of the Temple of Zeus. The verses that are chiselled on the tablet are from the 14thbook of the epic and relate to Odysseus speaking to Eumaeus, his lifelong friend, who was the first person he saw on following his return from spending a decade away from home.

The Greek Culture Ministry confirmed in a press release that they had received confirmation of the preliminary date of the tablet. If this is verified then the tablet will be a priceless literary, historical artefact. This really is a very exciting discovery for everyone involved; any glimpse into the work of Homer from before medieval times is rare and anything that pertains to the composition of the epics themselves is incredibly precious.

Because of Her We Can – NAIDOC Week

Held annually across Australia from the first Sunday in July for a week NAIDOC week is a celebration of the history, culture and achievements of the Aboriginal peoples and those from Torres Strait Island.

This year they have chosen as their theme indigenous women who have not only led but supported their communities: those women who laid foundations that allowed others to achieve “Because of her, we can!”

Whilst many of the “hers” will never be known there are others who will. One such woman being honoured during this years NAIDOC week is Oodgeroo Noonuccal who was a poet and activist who hailed from North Stradbroke Island. Noonuccal was the first aboriginal person to have a book of poetry published, she was also a prominent lobbyist during the 1960’s for the Indigenous people to be included as full Australian citizens. Her activism helped lead to the 1967 referendum which resulted in an amendment to the constitution.

Stratford Writers Festival Line-up Released

This year will mark the third year of the festival and they are hoping it will be the best yet with a great combination of literary and musical arts.

The festival runs from 14thto 22ndOctober and will include readings, workshops and panels. The lineup includes award-winning authors Cherie Dimaline and Eden Robinson and the Instagram poet Najwa Zebian who is being hailed as Canada’s next Rupi Kaur.

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