MacArthur Genius: A.E. Stallings

From the MacArthur Foundation’s site … always nice when a Classicist is recognized:

A. E. Stallings is a poet and translator mining the classical world and traditional poetic techniques to craft works that evoke startling insights about contemporary life. In both her original poetry and translations, Stallings exhibits a mastery of highly structured forms (such as sonnets, couplets, quatrains, and sapphics) and consummate skill in creating new combinations of meter, rhyme, and syntax into distinctive, emotionally compelling verse. Trained in classical Latin and Greek and currently living in Athens, she brings a wide knowledge of Greco-Roman literature, art, and mythology to bear on her imaginative explorations of contemporary circumstances and concerns. In Hapax (2006), Stallings imbues figures and events from classical drama and mythology with a modern sensibility. “First Love,” written as a multiple-choice quiz, intertwines the Persephone myth with a chilling account of infatuation, and “XII Klassikal Lymnaeryx” emphasizes the satiric edge to Greek myth through a series of limericks in witty, unexpected diction. For her ambitious translation of De Rerum Natura (The Nature of Things, 2007), Stallings rendered Lucretius’s epic-length treatise on the nature of reality into rhyming fourteeners. The unusual meter and colloquial language she employs capture every cadence of Lucretius’s enthusiasm for his subject while also making the complexities of his argument easily understandable. Through her technical dexterity and graceful fusion of content and form, Stallings is revealing the timelessness of poetic expression and antiquity’s relevance for today.

A. E. Stallings received an A.B. (1990) from the University of Georgia and an M.St. (1992) from the University of Oxford. Her additional works include the poetry collection Archaic Smile (1999) and poems and essays in such publications as Poetry, the Atlantic Monthly, the Hudson Review, and the Yale Review. She also serves as director of the poetry program at the Athens Centre in Athens, Greece

In the news:

Circumundique ~ September 21-24 (II)

Second bit … that might cover it (my rss reader seems to be lagging):

Bernadette Brooten Looking Into Ancient Slavery

From the Brandeis Hoot:

A Brandeis professor is researching the history of slavery dating back to ancient times with a team that has acquired information from such varied sources as Greek or Latin graves, papyrus and tax receipts of antiquity to uncover the lives of enslaved women and their female owners as well.

Professor Bernadette Brooten (NEJS), an authority on early Christianity, will head the group, using a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Robert and Myra Kraft and Jacob Hiatt Professor of Christian Studies and this year’s visiting scholar at the Harvard Divinity School’s Women’s Studies in Religion Program, Brooten received the grant for the current academic year to research early Christian women who were enslaved or who were slaveholders from the first to fourth centuries.

“Slavery has been part of our lives for most of our history,” Brooten, who is also a professor of Classical Studies; Women’s and Gender Studies; and Religious Studies; and director of the Feminist Sexual Ethics Project, said in a BrandeisNOW release. “Christianity, Judaism and Islam tolerated slavery for most of its history and the habits of slavery are deeply entrenched in our thinking. In order to overcome them, we need to see how deep they are in our history and our habits of thought.”

Brooten will examine the ethical challenges faced by enslaved women in early Christianity to better understand the perspective of this most marginalized of groups. Celibacy, along with the idea of keeping one’s body pure and holy for Christ, was a Christian ideal very early on but, while elite women were able to honor that if they wished, what, Brooten asked, was the Christian decision of God’s judgment on enslaved women?

She hypothesizes that the idea would have been difficult, as owners wanted enslaved women to give birth to ensure further enslaved labor.

Brooten said she will examine how the institution of slavery affected enslaved girls and women who were at risk of enslavement and slaveholding women. She will document how the early Christian majority decision to tolerate slavery, including the enslavement of fellow Christians, and to condemn those who encouraged enslaved persons to flee from their owners shaped teachings on marriage, fidelity, chastity and celibacy.

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