Sammy Jay works as a literary specialist at Peter Harrington Ltd of London. He studied English Literature at Christ Church, Oxford, and has a particular enthusiasm for poetry - writing and occasionally publishing some of his own. His book collection focuses on poetic inspiration, and seeks to gather books, ideally association copies, which in themselves spurred fresh creations.
The Iliad, done into English prose by Andrew Lang, Walter Leaf, and Ernest Myers.
Homer. London: Macmillan and Co., 1893.
This was the working copy of British poet Christopher Logue (1926-2011) towards his lifelong project, War Music, published and performed between 1981 and 2016. Though he had no Greek, Logue engaged whole-heartedly with the epic through this English version, condensing long narrative passages into poetry: “The spearhead and the soul came out together”, “Food for the dogs and glory for the men”, etc. The copy recently emerged in the estate of Logue’s publisher Tom Maschler.
The Bog People, Iron-Age Man Preserved. Translated from the Danish by Rupert Bruce-Mitford.
V. Glob. Frogmore: Paladin, 1975.
In 1969 Seamus Heaney purchased a copy of this book on ancient bodies being exhumed from the Jutland bogs, inspiring his best collections: North and Bog Poems. This copy was inscribed for a friend in 1976, “bog-eyed Narcissus”. The words “big-eyed Narcissus” had appeared in an early poem (“Personal Helicon”), but he clearly identified with the bog people. Heaney later presented Death of a Naturalist (1966) to Elizabeth Bishop: “first gurgles from the bog-eyed Narcissus”.