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6 February 2023
6:30 pm to 8:00 pm
£3 (or free when pre-ordering either book)
Blackwell's Bookshop, Manchester
About the books:
AE Stallings – THIS AFTERLIFE
‘The ancients taught me how to sound modern,’ A.E. Stallings said in an interview. ‘They showed me that technique was not the enemy of urgency, but the instrument.’ For her, ‘technique’ is rooted in traditions of strict forms and metres, an interest that sets her apart as modern – and American – in challenging ways, for being on the face of it old-fashioned, yet ambitiously experimental among the forms she uses.
Raised in Atlanta, Georgia, she lives in Athens, Greece. Her poems come out of life’s dailiness – as a wife, mother, teacher, an expatriate between languages, a brilliant translator of ancient and modern Greek. She also translates Latin, her most notable large work being the Penguin Lucretius, translated into fourteeners.
Being a poet in Greece entails, for her, being part of that world. She was among volunteers helping refugees as they arrived in Greece, and their experience haunted her to write, ‘My love, I’m grateful tonight / Our listing bed isn’t a raft / Precariously adrift / As we dodge the coast guard light…’ The sharp quatrain commends the observation to memory. The poems, without self-indulgence or confession, are intimate as they address ‘My love’, children or friends.
Laura Scott – THE FOURTH SISTER
The Fourth Sister is the much anticipated second collection from prize-winning poet Laura Scott. As Ancient Greek is said to have had over thirty words for love, honouring each of the forms it appears in our lives as love of family, love through shared experiences, friendship love, romantic love and love of things, Scott’s second collection seeks to extend the idea of the love poem.
In The Fourth Sister, these forms of love are brought alive with poems addressed to multiple beloveds: to time, to grown-up children, to sisters, to lovers. It is a collection that opens its arms and fills the room with artists, writers, stories and images. In thrifty, moving language, her poems tell intimate stories, many of them with powerful historical resonance, others rooted in her fascination with form and the things it draws out of lived experience, relationship, pain and love. The poems are told in exact language that never retreats into observation but remains immersed in conversation. Scott’s poetry talks back to other works and artists, including other art forms, photographers, painters, playwrights and poems.
And Chekhov, a key figure in her prize-winning first collection, re-appears, somewhere near the heart of that conversation as the figure in whom it finds ‘a note of longing seeping in and out of me and everyone around me in that room’, an incompletely fulfilled reaching out and across the gaps between us. Passionate and restrained, the poems in The Fourth Sister open themselves up, sometimes joyfully, sometimes painfully, to people, to memory, to other writers, to the natural world, and above all to love.
About the authors:
A.E. Stallings is a U.S.-born poet and translator who lives in Greece. She studied Classics at the University of Georgia (in Athens, Georgia) and Oxford University, and lives now in Athens. She has published four volumes of poetry (Archaic Smile, Hapax, Olives, and Like), and three volumes of verse translation, including Lucretius’ The Nature of Things and Hesiod’s Works and Days with Penguin Classics. She has been awarded numerous prizes for her translation and poetry, including a Guggenheim fellowship and a MacArthur fellowship. Her poetry book, Like (FSG), was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize.
Laura Scott was born in London and now lives in Norwich. Her pamphlet, What I Saw, won the Michael Marks Prize in 2014, and in 2015 she won the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize. Her work was featured in New Poetries VII in 2018. So Many Rooms, her first collection, was The Guardian’s Poetry Book of the Month when it came out in August 2019 and in 2020 it won the Seamus Heaney First Collection Prize and the East Anglian Book Award for Poetry.
Doors: 6.30, starts: 6.45
Tickets are £3.00 or free when pre-ordering a copy of either book. THIS AFTERLIFE and THE FOURTH SISTER will also be available to purchase on the night and both authors will be signing copies after the talk. If you would like a signed copy but cannot make the event, please contact us on 0161 274 3331 or firstname.lastname@example.org and we can arrange this for you.
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