Alex Purves



I teach and study early Greek poetry, with a special interest in the elements, especially air and water. In addition to Micro-Sappho, which considers the ontological status of tiny, minute or immaterial words and things in Sappho’s poetry, I am also writing a book entitled Blue Homer: Reading the Sea in and beyond the Odyssey. The first three chapters of this work examine the sea in early Greek poetry from the position of depth, surface, and shore, while its second half considers the color of the sea in Joyce’s Ulysses and immersion underwater in Walcott’s Omeros as a means of reframing Homeric reception.

I am also co-organizing a conference with Professor Louise Hornby (English) entitled Elemental Readings I: Air, on the weather, breath, air, and the environment (May 19-20, 2023, UCLA Luskin Conference Center).