A Vision of the Skald

I’m thrilled to announce that my MPhil thesis, “A Vision of the Skald: Seeking the Ideal in the Probable Works of Snorri Sturluson,” is now available on the University of Oslo’s public research archive. You can download and read it at: <https://www.duo.uio.no/handle/10852/52012>. It is the capstone of my recently-completed joint MA/MPhil degree in Viking & Medieval Norse Studies from the Universities of Iceland and Oslo.

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The Valknut: Heart of the Slain?

I’m thrilled to announce that an essay I wrote has now been published by Odroerir: The Heathen Journal. You can download and read the essay here: The Valknut: Heart of the Slain?

I wrote this for a class on Old Nordic Religion during my first year of Viking and Medieval Norse Studies at the University of Iceland. In its approach to the subject, one can my characteristic style: viewing the source material with the eyes of a poet.  Back in April, about a month after I finished writing it, I posted my Háskólavísur 09 update about it, featuring a 13-line poem on the subject. (And yes, I’m quite busy with the second year of the program at this time.) The abstract for the essay is below.
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The Skald Starts an M.A.

So, what’s the cause of the very long break since my last post? Nothing less than a move to Iceland for the start of an M.A. program in Viking and Medieval Norse Studies at the University of Iceland. Joining this program has been a goal of mine ever since I learned of its existence back in May 2012. It’s an international, two year program that has its first year in Iceland and in which the third semester is taken at one of three other partner universities in Norway or Denmark, with the fourth semester for writing a thesis either in Norway or back in Iceland. I’m looking at spending the entire second year in Norway at the University of Oslo. But for now, I’m enjoying the start to my time in Iceland. I’ve been here for eleven days so far, and both life and studies have been great. Reykjavík is a beautiful city. 🙂
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An About Page and a Yule Break

It is time for another site update post.

Just who is Eirik Westcoat, Skald? I’ve added an about page which you may now see in the site’s menu bar above. It has the usual sort of stuff along with some links.

My birthday is coming up soon and so is the Yuletide holiday. This year, that means that this blog will be taking the next two weeks off. The next post will be a short Yule poem, probably on December 24.

Content Guide: Check Out the Menu Bar

With a total of 52 posts on this blog including this one, readers both new and old may find it a bit daunting to scroll through. So today I’ve updated this site with some content guides. They are the links in the black menu bar above: Major Poems, Minor Poems, Audio Recordings, Non-Poetry. Each one goes to a page providing links to all the posts in its category. Now for a short description of what the categories mean.

Major Poems: Stand-alone poems that have titles of their own.

Minor Poems: Short collections of loose stanzas for things such as calls to the gods.

Audio Recordings: Recorded recitations for your computer or mobile device of choice.

Non-Poetry: Everything else. Introductory material, book lists, meter discussions, etc.

Generally, these lists will be updated as needed or approximately monthly.

Learning Icelandic and Old Norse

The advanced Asatru alliterative poet should also have some knowledge of the older languages, as the best exemplars of the form are in the old languages. Most important are Old Norse and Old English, although some alliterative material also exists in a few other old dialects. Today’s post, however, focuses on Old Norse and Modern Icelandic. The two are so similar (at least in the way they are written) that knowledge of one is almost the same thing as knowledge of the other. The vocabulary of the modern language is, of course, larger. The differences are relatively minor, and in comparing texts of the two, my brain doesn’t even register them as separate languages.

To really ramp up my learning of Modern Icelandic, I’m taking a trip to Reykjavík, Iceland for a four-week summer course in Modern Icelandic at the Árni Magnússon Institute. <http://arnastofnun.is/page/althjodlegt_islenskunamskeid_en>. While I’m there, my internet access will be limited, and this blog will be taking a four-week hiatus — the next post will not occur until July 31. So those who post comments may have to wait a while before they are approved.

Here’s a list of helpful resources for the poet who wants to study Modern Icelandic and/or Old Norse.

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Wassail!

Wassail! Welcome to my blog. It’s now officially launched. I’m Eirik Westcoat, and I write poetry in alliterative styles based on traditional Old Norse and Old English poetic meters. I am also a follower of Asatru. Most of my poetry is about topics from Old Norse mythology and/or is usable in ritual contexts of the modern religion.

On this blog, I will be posting some of my poems, and writing about traditional alliterative poetry.

You can also follow me on Twitter, <@EirikWestcoat>, where I will tweet to announce updates to this blog. I may also tweet short poems there among other things.