greek

Euripides

Euripides (480 BC – 406 BC) was the youngest of the three great Athenian tragedians whose work survives. From the voluminous number of tragedies these three playwrights produced, we have seven apiece by Aeschylus and Sophocles, and eighteen or nineteen by Euripides, who was called in antiquity the most tragic of the tragic poets, and of whom it was also said that he showed people not as they ought to be but as they are. Some of the ancient references to Euripides, while they can’t be substantiated, give a vivid sense of the nature and popularity of his art.

 

Rachel Hadas

Rachel Hadas is Board of Governors Professor of English at the Newark campus of Rutgers University. The most recent of her many books of poems is The Golden Road (Northwestern University Press, 2012); a memoir, Strange Relation, was published by Paul Dry Books in 2011.

 

Walls

english translation

Walls

original Greek poem

Τείχη

Χωρίς περίσκεψιν, χωρίς λύπην, χωρίς αιδώ
μεγάλα κ' υψηλά τριγύρω μου έκτισαν τείχη.

Και κάθομαι και απελπίζομαι τώρα εδώ.
Αλλο δεν σκέπτομαι: τον νουν μου τρώγει αυτή η τύχη•

διότι πράγματα πολλά έξω να κάμω είχον.
Α όταν έκτιζαν τα τείχη πώς να μην προσέξω.

Αλλά δεν άκουσα ποτέ κρότον κτιστών ή ήχον.
Ανεπαισθήτως μ' έκλεισαν από τον κόσμον έξω.

 

C.P. Cavafy

C.P. Cavafy (1863 – 1933) is the most famous and arguably greatest of the Modern Greek Poets. He was born and died in Alexandria, but spent part of his childhood in Liverpool (his first poems were in English and he is said to have spoken Greek with an English accent), and he lived for a time in Constantinople. His subjects range from homosexual love affairs to arcane Hellenistic history, but his treatments of them share a remove in time, a distance or irony. His poems were collected only after his death. Many celebrations this past year have marked the sesquicentennial of his birth.

 

Tony Barnstone

Tony Barnstone is The Albert Upton Professor and Chair of English at Whittier College and author of fifteen books and a music CD, Tokyo’s Burning: WWII Songs. His poetry books include Beast in the Apartment, Tongue of War: From Pearl Harbor to Nagasaki, The Golem of Los Angeles, Sad Jazz: Sonnets, Impure, and selected poems in Spanish, Buda en Llamas: Antología poética (1999-2012). He is also a distinguished translator of Chinese literature, and he dabbles in other languages.

 

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