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This Afterlife

This Afterlife

A selection of sharp, witty, and impeccably crafted poems from A. E. Stallings, the award-winning poet and translator.

This Afterlife: Selected Poems brings together poetry from A. E. Stallings's four acclaimed collections, Archaic Smile, Hapax, Olives, and Like, as well as a lagniappe of outlier poems. Over time, themes and characters reappear, speaking to one another across years and experience, creating a complex music of harmony, dissonance, and counterpoint. The Underworld and the Afterlife, ancient history and the archaeology of the here and now, all slant rhyme with one another. Many of these poems unfold in the mytho-domestic sphere, through the eyes of Penelope or Pandora, Alice in Wonderland or the poet herself. Fulfilling the promise of the energy and sprezzatura of Stallings's earliest collection, her later technical accomplishments rise to meet the richness of lived experience: of marriage and motherhood, of a life lived in another language and country, of aging and mortality. Her chosen home of Greece adds layers of urgency to her fascination with Greek mythology; living in an epicenter of contemporary crises means current events and ancient history are always rubbing shoulders in her poems.

Expert at traditional received forms, Stallings is also a poet of restless experiment, in cat's-cradle rhyme schemes, nonce stanzas, supple free verse, thematic variation, and metaphysical conceits. The pleasure of these poems, fierce and witty, melancholy and wise, lies in a timeless precision that will outlast the fickleness of fashion.

Publication Date: 
December 5, 2023
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