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The Sieve

A.E. Stallings, 26 May 2022

... I bought an antique sieve of hammered tinFor its decorative holesPatterned like a flower, or a star explodingAt one of the poles.I think of all it has sifted: flour and sugar,Dust and light,What must be ground so fine, so fine! to pass through –Milled, contrite.Light and time it has sifted, like a metal welkinOf punctual stars,The cold hieroglyphs of the constellations,The raised scarsOn one side of the thin disk, stigmataNubby as braille ...

Pine Processionaries

A.E. Stallings, 27 January 2022

... Warmer and warmercreep the late Januarys,disturbed beauty ofprecocious flowers,the ease of a year’s first swim.Pulsing in their silktent in the tree’s crotchthe pine processionariesbegin to emergehead to tail to headto tail, inevitableas cause and effect,the rungs of numbers.Column of janissaries,they pour like rollercoasters or compoundcentipedes, devouring morerange each year, feederson forests ...

Ghazal of the Fiftieth Danaid

A.E. Stallings, 9 September 2021

... just the autumn, draining the chlorophyll again.The night sky is the hull of a sinking boat.Stars are the silver holes that drill and thrill again.Beauty leaks away, the face burns hot, Youth is the liquor no one can distill again.I steep and brew a bitter wakefulness:The kitchen’s nowhere engine whistles shrill again.At fifty, the matron turns from the ...

Peacocks

A.E. Stallings, 7 October 2021

... I speak to the unbeautiful of this bird.                                         James MerrillThe peacock thinks he can’t be seen:Stealthily towards the cat-food bowlHe stalks, while I’m behind the screenCoffee in hand: peacock patrol.More blue than the Saronic, greenAs bristles on Aleppo pines,Perhaps he thinks he only … blends?And often, as the day declines,A raucous mob of fowl ascendsTo virid roosts, while dusk definesThe drooped flabella of their tailsAnd flails of needles just the same ...

A Nony Mouse

Ange Mlinko: The ‘Batrachomyomachia’, 16 July 2020

‘The Battle between the Frogs and the Mice’: A Tiny Homeric Epic 
by A.E. Stallings.
Paul Dry, 109 pp., £19.99, October 2019, 978 1 58988 142 6
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by A.E. Stallings.
Farrar, Straus, 160 pp., £9.99, October 2019, 978 0 374 53868 2
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... Philhellenes of the Renaissance.Now comes a new translation in rhyming iambic pentameter by A.E. Stallings, with illustrations by the etcher Grant Silverstein. The handsome large-format book, and the ingenious heroic couplets recounting the deeds of ‘King Pufferthroat’, ‘Morselsnatcher’ et al, suggest Mother Goose or Aesop. That’s one way to look ...

Diary

Marina Warner: Literary Diplomacy, 16 November 2017

... creature or Jane Eyre, the persona of Augustine has a life of his own: such figures are figments that become autonomous beings, acting in further conversations between pieces of literature and imagination. ‘The tendency to weave stories where evidence is missing is the human brain’s sustaining feature,’ Nathan Heller warned in a recent ...

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