Christopher Logue was born November 23, 1926, in Portsmith, Hampshire, England. A notable pacifist and poet associated with the British Poetry Revival, he was also a playwright, screenwriter, and actor.
Logue became popular in the late 1950s with the release of “Red Bird,” translations of Pablo Neruda’s Twenty Love Poems read by Logue, and set to jazz by jazz by pianist Bill Le Sage and drummer Tony Kinsey. Hear it here: https://youtu.be/1z_5Zvdw0zk
The same year as the Red Bird EP was released, Logue was asked to translate a section of the Iliad for BBC Radio. Logue did not know Ancient Greek, a fact later critics held against him. He instead used translations to create War Music, a modernist translation of the Iliad. His War Music project lasted decades; he released nine books separately documenting the epic poem, the last book, Cold Calls, was 2005. The entire translation was incomplete at the time of his death; however, what was written has been compiled multiple times under the all-encompassing War Music.
For money, Logue wrote a pornographic novel (Lust, initially published in 1959) and limericks under the pen name Count Palmiro Vicarion. He also edited anthologies of children’s poetry.
One of Logue’s most famous poems, ‘Come to the Edge,’ is often credited to someone else. Logue dedicated the poem to Guillaume Apollinaire, a French poet born in 1880. It was made famous by a color offset lithograph poster entitled “Apollinaire Said.’ for an art exhibition – leading to the misattribution.
Logue was awkward and uncomfortable with women and intimate relationships, a characteristic that led him to attempt suicide early in his life (novelist Alexander Trocchi saved him). In 1985, at the age of 59, Logue married the biographer Rosemary Hill (she was 28). They remained married until his death on December 2, 2011.
His autobiography, Prince Charming, was published in 2001.
Lesson from Logue:
The only way to fly is to go over the edge. You don’t need to know Ancient Greek, or stick to one genre or format – push yourself. Fly.