Filmpoem: Sonatorrek (Loss of Sons)

This is Alastair Cook‘s incredible Filmpoem of John Glenday’s ‘The Lost Boy’, a poem after Egill Skallagrímsson’s Sonatorrek.

Egill’s tenth-century piece is lyrical, confessional and personal. The dynamic of Sonatorrek is based on the notion of sacrifice: poetry is seen as a form of recompense for the loss of Egill’s sons, who are symbolically imagined as a sacrifice to Óðinn. The poem grapples with the disruption of the natural order of things, developing a framework of associations between disparate elements of nature, myth, the psyche, poetry, the metaphorical and the literal, in order to produce a kind of imaginative balance: to create, as it were, a sense of poetic justice out of the seemingly unjust trauma of loss.

In ‘The Lost Boy’, John Glenday adopts the compulsive feel of Egill’s terse metre, drawing on the themes and imagery of Sonatorrek to convey the story of his uncle, who was killed at the Battle of the Sambre in November 1918.

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