Ilana Hamilton is a writer, artist, and heathen. Hamilton lives in Portland, Oregon with her family, where she performs spoken word retellings of material from Northern European myth as part of the ensemble Kertoa Kalevala, including material from the North Germanic and Finnish records.
Retellings play a crucial role in tradition: It is by way of retellings that most readers are first introduced to topics such as Norse mythology, whether by recent textual works such as Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology (W. W. Norton and Company, 2017) or by way of retellings via other mediums (such as Thor’s loss of his hammer in the film Thor, Marvel Studios, 2011). Yet rarely do audiences have a chance to encounter retellings from the Old Norse corpus performed live, making Hamilton’s efforts a rarity, and also part of a tradition reaching far back, perhaps to the days of the initial composition of the material Hamilton herself performs. This includes poems such as Vǫluspá, some version of which was no doubt performed orally prior to being set to Latin characters.