7708B - Philoctetes

by Armand Schwerner

Side 1 36:22
Side 2 34:57


Armand Schwerner has published thirteen books of poetry, and one of non-fiction, "The Doomsday Dictionary," which is an idiosyncratic compendium in encyclopedia form of contemporary political and martial-nuclear adventurism. His work appears in some thirty anthologies. New Rivers Press has just published a new collection of Schwerner's poetry, "The work, the joy and the triumph of the will" (NYC, 1977). Besides writing, Schwerner teaches at the College of Staten Island.

On this tape we hear Schwerner's translation of Sophocles' play Philoctetes. The action takes place on the barren island of Lemnos during the siege of Troy. Oddysseus convinces Neoptolemus, the young song of Achilles, to deprive the ailing and lonely Pholoctetes of his bow by trickery. The bow is his famous inheritance from Heracles, and the course of his sustenance.

"This play of Sophocles has a psychological subtlety which makes it seem particularly available to the contemporary hearer/viewer. The self-questioning of Neoptolemus--as he tries to con crippled Philoctetes and get him to serve Odysseus' cohorts in Troy with his invincible bow--leads the young warrior to a dramatic conflict between his civic duty and his growing sense of human betrayal. His intended victim, nourished by ten years of isolation and bitterness at those who exiled him on a barren island, on the other hand, is faced with the need to find a rationale which would transcend his experientially brewed contempt and hatred, which might find reasons to once more serve the historical 'necessity' that the Gods dictate. I tried to work the play into an American idiom which would be vivaciously playable without sacrificing the intermittent hieratic elevation characteristic of Greek drama." --Armand Schwerner


released April 21, 1977

Armand Schwerner reads Philoctetes; Sam Gray, a sailor, and the chorus; George Economou, Odysseus; and Ed Gero, Neoptolemus.
Insert design by Mary Nell Hawk
Produced by Charlie Morrow and Denis Thalson, with help from Barbara Barracks.


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Charlie Morrow Barton, Vermont

AUDIOGRAPHICS was a New Wilderness Foundation project of the 1970s. AUDIOGRAPHICS offered a number of sound artists the opportunity to record a variety of works - experimental and traditional music, poetry, storytelling and other sound and language art - in a professional recording studio. Now, you can stream these AUDIOGRAPHICS releases, here. ... more

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