Alicia Elsbeth Stallings
Biography of Alicia Elsbeth Stallings
Alicia Elsbeth Stallings (born 1968) is an American poet and translator. She was named a 2011 MacArthur Fellow.
Stallings was born and raised in Decatur, Georgia and studied classics at the University of Georgia (A.B., 1990) and University of Oxford. She is an editor with the Atlanta Review. In 1999, Stallings moved to Athens, Greece and has lived there ever since. She is the Poetry Program Director of the Athens Centre and is married to John Psaropoulos, who is the editor of the Athens News.
Stallings' poetry uses traditional forms, and she has been associated with the New Formalism, although her approach to formal verse is flexible, and she freely uses metrical substitution.
She is a frequent contributor of poems and essays to Poetry magazine. She has published three books of original verse, Archaic Smile (1999), Hapax (2006), and Olives (2012). In 2007 she published a verse translation of Lucretius' De Rerum Natura (The Nature of Things).
Alicia Elsbeth Stallings Poems
Fear Of Happiness
Looking back, it's something I've always had: As a kid, it was a glass-floored elevator I crouched at the bottom of, my eyes squinched tight, Or staircase whose gaps I was afraid I'd slip through,
The two of them stood in the middle water, The current slipping away, quick and cold, The sun slow at his zenith, sweating gold, Once, in some sullen summer of father and daughter.
Fairy tales are full of impossible tasks: Gather the chin hairs of a man-eating goat, Or cross a sulphuric lake in a leaky boat,
The hounds, you know them all by name. You fostered them from purblind whelps At their dam's teats, and you have come To know the music of their yelps:
The Pull Toy
You squeezed its leash in your fist, It followed where you led: Tick, tock, tick, tock, Nodding its wooden head.
Another Lullaby For Insomniacs
Sleep, she will not linger: She turns her moon-cold shoulder. With no ring on her finger, You cannot hope to hold her.
Extinction Of Silence
That it was shy when alive goes without saying. We know it vanished at the sound of voices Or footsteps. It took wing at the slightest noises, Though it could be approached by someone praying.
So long I have been carrying myself Carefully, carefully, like a small child With too much water in a real glass
The Companions Of Odysseus In Hades
Since we still had a little Of the rusk left, what fools To eat, against the rules, The Sun's slow-moving cattle,
The Mother's Loathing Of Balloons
I hate you, How the children plead At ﬁrst sight—
Implements From The 'Tomb Of The Poet'
On the journey to the mundane afterlife, You travel equipped to carry on your trade: A bronze, small-toothed saw to make repairs, The stylus and the ink pot and the scraper,
Triolet On A Line Apocryphally Attribute...
Why should the Devil get all the good tunes, The booze and the neon and Saturday night, The swaying in darkness, the lovers like spoons?
The Ghost Ship
She plies an inland sea. Dull With rust, scarred by a jagged reef. In Cyrillic, on her hull Is lettered, Grief.
After A Greek Proverb
We're here for the time being, I answer to the query— Just for a couple of years, we said, a dozen years back. Nothing is more permanent than the temporary.
So long I have been carrying myself
Carefully, carefully, like a small child
With too much water in a real glass
Clasped in two hands, across a space as vast
As living rooms, while gazes watch the waves
That start to rile the little inland sea
And slap against its cliffs' transparency,
Revise and meet, double their amplitude,
Harmonizing doubt from many ifs.