In a 2007 Stronach Memorial Lecture, Peter Sacks explores the trope of the dolphin in poetry from Homeric to modern poets. An evocative and empowering image, the dolphin continually shows up in poetry as a surprise and as a mystic escort. As 2010 ends, I find the dolphin a fitting image of the soul in transit.
In past years I have made New Year resolutions, and they are often effective. I set specific goals using strategies I’ve learned as a professional: specific, attainable, timely goals whose outcomes can be measured. But this year I’m interested in what Sacks calls the dolphin’s turn, a metaphor for a process to realize outcomes that can’t be measured.
In the Homeric Hymn to Pythian Apollo, a dolphin intervenes with merchants on route to a trade city. The dolphin forces the sailors to turn their ship and sail to another coast, an unknown coast, and another life. Sacks draws a connection between the dolphin’s transformative veering and the transport system of poetry . As the dolphin leaps between two […]