5 Reasons to See A.E. Stallings

We can think of many reasons why you should join SAL to hear A.E. Stallings – formalist poet and translator who’s joining us all the way from Greece – as part of our Poetry Series on November 13, but here are our top five . . .


By SAL Intern, Lucienne Aggarwal

1. She lives among Greek mythology even in the modern day. Stallings brings mythological heroes to life, and not just in her poetry. While she regularly reimagines ancient Greek characters in her poetry, resurrecting such characters as Psyche, Hades and Persephone, her two children are named after famous figures. Her son is named after the leader of the Argonauts, Jason, and her daughter is named after the character Atalanta, two characters who sailed together in the quest for the Golden Fleece. In her TED talk titled “The Courage of Poetry,” Stallings tells of her amusement that her son regularly plays with school friends who are named after famous Greeks like Xenophon and Andromeda–stories from the past can create new meanings in the present.

2. She came back stronger after having her first collection of poems destroyed. Ryan Gunn relates the following incident in Tupelo Quarterly: while in elementary school, Stallings was encouraged to keep a diary. She wrote mainly short stories and poems, such as homages to Blake’s “Tyger” and Kipling’s “White Seal.” Her teacher would write back to the students in those diaries. But one day, for some unknown reason, the teacher decided the diaries had to go—she tossed the entire class’ collection of diaries into the school incinerator. As a young kid, Stallings was devastated because this diary was her life’s work. Her homeroom teacher, distressed about Stallings’ loss, confronted and chastised the teacher responsible for destroying her creative work. Strengthened by this kind show of support, Stallings started writing her life’s work from scratch. As she says, “I suppose that was a lesson about persistence. Read more…