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.

Continue reading


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.
Continue reading

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. 🙂
Continue reading

The Skald as Scholar

In addition to writing poetry in modern versions of the traditional Old Norse and Old English meters, I also study those meters from a scholarly perspective. This week, I’m going to the 48th International Congress on Medieval Studies, where I’ll be presenting a paper on the uses of the galdralag meter in the Old Norse poetic corpus. It is a condensed version of a longer paper that takes a broader look at historical galdralag. In the future, I may post the shorter paper here or on my academia.edu page, and I intended to seek publication for the longer, more comprehensive paper.

As a brief taste, here are the two introductory paragraphs of the shorter paper.

Continue reading

Audio for The Mead Quest

I now present an audio recording of my poem The Mead Quest, which is a short poetic rendering of Óðin’s winning of Óðrerir, the poetic mead. For aspiring skalds in modern Asatru, this tale is perhaps the most important part of the mythology.

Here is the file of me reciting the poem: Eirik Westcoat – The Mead Quest

Enjoy! Feel free to share the file. For details, see the Creative Commons link below.

This post is:
Copyright © 2013 Eirik Westcoat.
All rights reserved.

The linked audio file of The Mead Quest is:
Copyright © 2013 Eirik Westcoat.
Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives License.

The Mead Quest

Here is one of my favorite early poems, based on the tale of Odin’s winning of the poetic mead from Snorri’s Edda. A version of the tale exists in the Havamal, but it clearly has some differences. I have written it as a lore poem in eight stanzas of ljóðaháttr. In this one, the spelling has been completely anglicized. Since mead is strongly identified with poetry in the Old Norse tradition, this tale allowed for a tight interweaving of the two concepts, especially in the first and last stanzas. (As a change, I have now put the first stanza prior to the break.)

The poem is called “The Mead Quest.”

Honor I Odin
by eagerly pouring
that precious and potent mead.
How he won
that wynnful draught:
that spell I speak in verse.

Continue reading