Horace and Why Wine Matters

Horace and Why Wine Matters

Free Lecture by Harry Eyres

Saturday, January 14th at NOON EST

About The Lecture

Join Us Saturday, January 14th at NOON EST.

Wine is an important presence in Horace’s poetry – especially in the Odes. Commentators have tended to see the frequent references to wine, odes addressed to Bacchus or a particular wine-jar, in terms of a tradition of drinking-songs going back to Archaic Greece. Harry Eryes argues in this lecture that wine for Horace has far greater and more personal significance than this, on many levels. He was himself a wine grower (or so we gather from Odes 1, 20), and a connoisseur, as part of a burgeoning, sophisticated wine and food culture in Ancient Rome.

However, at a more profound level, Horace made wine into one of the master-symbols of his poetry, connoting our connection with the earth (and particular corners of it), the way we ripen and mature as human beings, a way of “being in the moment” (carpe diem) while also recalling the past and envisioning the future. Wine is a quasi-divine presence, profoundly connected with poetic inspiration. Over the course of the lecture Harry Eyres will analyse and offer his free verse translations of several of the odes featuring wine, including Odes 1, 11, Odes 1, 20, Odes 2, 14, Odes 3,21, and Odes 3,25.

About Our Speaker


Harry Eyres has become one of the most eloquent advocates of the worldwide Slow movement. Having worked for leading newspapers and magazines as a theatre critic, wine writer and poetry editor, in 2004 he created the Slow Lane column in FT Weekend. Slow Lane (which ran until 2015) proposed a pause for thoughtful enjoyment of the often uncostly and uncostable pleasures and values which make life worth living. He has also published a volume of poetry, Hotel Eliseo (Hearing Eye).

He gives regular poetry readings at various venues in London including The Poetry Café. Eyres is also the author of The Beginner’s Guide to Plato’s The Republic (Hodder & Stoughton), the memoir Horace and Me: Life Lessons from an Ancient Poet (Bloomsbury and Farrar, Straus and Giroux: short-listed for the PEN/Ackerley Prize in 2014), and several books on wine. From 2012-5 he was a Senior Fellow at the European Space Policy Institute in Vienna: out of this work came Seeing Our Planet Whole: A Cultural and Ethical View of Earth Observation (Springer). He lives in London, writes about wine (he is wine columnist for Country Life magazine, and a columnist for The World of Fine Wine), culture and politics (for The New Statesman) and enjoys playing tennis and the piano.

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