Horace and Me: Life Lessons from an Ancient Poet

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9781408814581: Horace and Me: Life Lessons from an Ancient Poet


How do we fill the void created by the excesses of a superficial society? How do we confront the inevitability of death? In Horace and Me: Life Lessons from an Ancient Poet, poet and critic Harry Eyres reexamines the Roman poet Horace's life, legacy, and verse. With a light, lyrical touch (deployed in new, fresh versions of some of Horace's most famous odes) and a keen critical eye, Eyres reveals a lively, relevant Horace, whose society―Rome at the dawn of the empire―is much more similar to our own than we might want to believe.

Eyres's study is not only intriguing―he retranslates Horace's most famous phrase,"carpe diem," as "taste the day"―but enlivening. Through Horace, Eyres meditates on how to live well, mounts a convincing case for the importance of poetry, and relates a moving tale of personal discovery. By the end of this remarkable journey, the reader too will believe in the power of Horace's "lovely words that go on shining with their modest glow, like a warm and inextinguishable candle in the darkness."

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About the Author:

Harry Eyres is one of the most prominent advocates for the Slow Movement. Having worked for leading newspapers and magazines in numerous capacities, he created the international Slow Lane column in the Financial Times in 2004, which encourages enjoyment of the uncostly and unmonetized experiences that make life worth living. Eyres is the author of the poetry collection Hotel Eliseo, Plato's "The Republic": A Beginner's Guide, and several books on wine. He lives in London, England.


“Delightful...[Horace and Me's] seductive interweaving of a modern life and an ancient one will encourage a wider readership of this most appealing of Latin writers.” ―The Economist

“Mr. Eyres writes with insight about why Horace first left him cold, then with intense feeling about all he has gained from the odes in recent years....[A] love of small experiences, closely observed, is what most binds Mr. Eyres to Horace.” ―The Wall Street Journal

“Slow down for this read....Don't worry if you haven't had Latin....In the telling of his own life, Eyres meanders. No hurry. He's charming and lyrical....Get the book.” ―The Dallas Morning News

“Harry Eyres, with the help of the poetry of Horace, has written a book about some of the essential questions. He has squeezed from the life of the poet and from poems two thousand years old lessons that are fresh and relevant today. Horace and Me is a book about the love of poetry and its practical value in these troubling times. A delightful thought-provoking book into which a lifetime of reading and musing has casually strolled.” ―Ben Okri, Booker Prize–winning author of The Famished Road

“Why has no one done this before?--explored themselves through their reading of a great voice from the past? What Horace wrote (about love, about wine, about happiness) can have revelatory relevance. Harry Eyres puts his lyrics in a contemporary and personal context, where he sounds fresher and more to the point than ever.” ―Hugh Johnson, author of A Life Uncorked

“Horace combines awareness of the fragility and randomness that characterize our destinies with an inspiration to enjoy the pleasures of life--without greed, but with temperance and a spirit of conviviality. This, together with a sensitivity to nature, is in line with the philosophy of Slow Food. Harry Eyres has been able to bring the thoughts and spirit of this ancient poet to our everyday lives.” ―Carlo Petrini, Slow Food founder and president

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