Meridith Greshers Comments
The Helen poems in FRiGG come from a book of poems I am writing about Helen of Troy. I started after I watched an episode of Ancient Mysteries with Leonard Nimoy, about the lost city of Troy. Afterward, I struggled to recall what I knew of Helen from a long ago reading of Homer. I came up with: Helen was the most beautiful woman in the world and the cause of a terrible war. Which is to say, I knew nothing. My interest was piqued.
It may be worth noting that Sappho, a woman, also wrote about Helen. I agree with her assessment that Helen must have left with Paris willingly. How would a woman reconcile leaving her children for a man? And how would Helen react to Homerís accounting of her life? He put the blame for the war solely on her shoulders. I kept asking myself, What other truths might there be to tell?
The book addresses the in-between spaces, the lies of omission, the errors about Helens life, then expands, weaving a story that moves backward and forward between the Helen of circa 1250 B.C. and a modern Helen visiting the 21st century. The narrator, my version of a Greek chorus, is featured prominently in the work, blurring the line between Helen and herself. Unlike in the Iliad, this Helen can and does speak for herself.