Alicia Elsbeth Stallings’s Life
Alicia Elsbeth Stallings is a well-known American poet and translator. She was born in 1968 in Decatur, Georgia, in the United States, and grew up there. She got a solid education in the public school system. By the age of sixteen, she started publishing her poems in a local journal, and received $15 as payment for each poem. She developed this love of literary writing from her parents, who were also literary figures. Her father was a professor at Georgia State University, and her mother was a librarian there. Stallings received a scholarship from the University of Georgia in Athens, where she studied classics. She did her masters degree at the University of Oxford.
Recently, she began working as an editor with the Atlanta Review. She moved to Athens, Greece in 1999 and has lived there ever since. Stallings is the Director of Poetry Program at the Athens Centre. She is married to John Psaropoulos, a journalist and editor of the Athens News. They have two children, Atlanta and Jason.
Alicia Elsbeth Stallings’s Works
Stallings published her first professional poem when she turned twenty-four, upon her return from England. The Beloit Poetry Journal published a poem that was later selected and included in the Best American Poetry series. Due to her selection for that publication, Stallings was invited to attend its launch celebration in New York – an event that gave a boost to her writing career. Stallings has been very lucky throughout her career regarding the publication of her work. So far, she has published her three poetry books: first was “Archaic Smile,” published in 1999. This volume received the Richard Wilbur Award. Stallings’s second book was “Hapax,” published in 2000, and her third, “Olives,” was published in 2012.
Stallings has also done numerous translation works, including long didactic poems, narrative poem, and epics. These translations empowered her to write long poems of her own. She has stated that she believes translation is an act of self-effacement opposed to an act of self-assertion. By doing translations, Stallings has studied various authors thoroughly and closely. The most popular work she translated was “Lucretius,” published by Penguin Classics.
Alicia Elsbeth Stallings’s Style and Popular Poems
In her work, Stallings has paid much attention to rhyme scheme. She considers it indispensable, on the grounds that without a proper rhyme scheme poetry would not have begun as an art form. Rhyme highlights a precision of style and a composition method.
Stallings also has a command of structured forms like sonnets and quatrains. Although she has written traditional poems, she has used concepts put forth by the school of New Formalism with flexibility and free use of metrical substitution. Stallings is an expert at producing a variety of new combinations of rhyme, syntax, and meter, and synthesizing these aspects into unique and compelling verses. Unusual meter, colloquial language, and cadence have made her work novel among her contemporaries.Stallings exposes the timelessness of her poetic expression and relevance of antiquity through her graceful combination of form, content, and technical dexterity.
Stallings connects her formalist tendencies with rhyme and humor. She perceives a large portion of her poems as witty, humorous, and sarcastic. Many of her poems were published after the death of her father in 2000, while she was battling with numerous physical, financial, and psychological challenges.
Her work has been positively compared to the works of Richard Wilbur and Edna St. Vincent Millay. Critics reviewed her book “Archaic Smile” as having strict metrical regularity. Publishers Weekly reviewed her collection “Olives” by expressing that they were awed by such poems. They described the poems as not composed as antiquated mythology, adding that when Stallings builds new narratives without using old ones she accomplishes a stark poise and restrained style that could undermine New Formalism standards. One of her most popular poems is “Recitative.”
More about Her
Stallings submitted her manuscript for publication almost 30 times before it received the Richard Wilbur Award, which was a completely new contest. This award encouraged Stallings to publish her second book. Her second book “Hapax” received the Poet’s Prize in 2008, along with getting her published in “The Best American Poetry.” She has received more than a dozen awards including the Eunice Tietjens Prize, a Pushcart Prize, the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award in 2004, and the Willis Barnstone Translation Prize in 2010. She also won aGuggenheim Fellowship in 2011 and the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. Her book “Olives” was awarded with the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2012.