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Hesiod

Hesiod is arguably the first writer we know about as a person in Western Literature. Probably writing in the late 8th century BC, he lived in the town of Askra, in Boeotia, Greece (a place he called “miserable in winter, vile in summer, unpleasant all the year round.”) He was a farmer himself and won a tripod in a poetry contest. He was embroiled in a lawsuit with his wastrel brother Perses over a property inherited from their father, and complained of corrupt judges; Modern Greeks would recognize this iron-age state of affairs today.

 

 

A.E. Stallings

A.E. Stallings is an American poet who has lived in Greece since 1999. Her most recent collection is Olives. Her translation of Hesiod’s Works and Days is forthcoming from Penguin Classics.

 

 

Giacomo Leopardi

Giacomo Leopardi (1798 – 1837), poet, translator, essayist, and philosopher, is considered one of the greatest Italian poets, together with Dante and Petrarch. He grew up in the small town of Recanati, a conservative backwater in Italy’s Marche region. His parents were reactionary nobility. His mother was cold, stingy, and committed to not giving Leopardi any money. Besides having squandered much of the family fortune on gambling, his father had spent considerable sums amassing an enormous library of some 20,000 volumes.

 

Wendy Sloan

Wendy Sloan practiced labor law with the firm of Hall & Sloan before returning to poetry. Her work has been published in journals including Measure, Mezzo Cammin, The Raintown Review, Blue Unicorn, Big City Lit and Umbrella. Sloan’s translations have appeared, or are forthcoming, in The Chimaera and Measure. She was a finalist in the 2006 Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award Competition.

 

 

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1648 – 1695), born in San Miguel Nepantla, Mexico, was and remains one of the towering figures of the Spanish Golden Age. A child prodigy with a wide-ranging grasp of literature, languages, science and music, she was famed for her learning and intelligence, as well as her beauty, but choices were limited in New Spain for a woman who wished above all to dedicate her life to scholarship and writing.

 

Tove Ditlevsen

Tove Ditlevsen (1917 – 1976) was a Danish author of deeply personal and heartfelt stories, novels and memoirs, though she considered herself primarily a poet. Married four times, she struggled with substance abuse and mental illness throughout her life. She committed suicide in 1976

 

 

Gaius Valerius Catullus

Gaius Valerius Catullus (c. 84 BC – 54 BC) was a Latin poet of the late Roman Republic whose work had a profound influence on later Latin poets, including Ovid, Horace, and Virgil. Approximately 116 of Catullus’s often-translated poems have survived.

 

 

Miguel de Unamuno

Miguel de Unamuno (1864 – 1936) was one of the most important intellectuals in Spanish history. Born of Basque parents, Unamuno was a distinguished philosopher, author, and educator. He received his doctorate in philosophy at the University of Madrid and eventually became a professor of Greek language and literature at the University of Salamanca, where he would later serve two terms as rector of the university. The author of numerous books and treatises, Unamuno’s creative writings included novels, plays, short stories, and poems.

 

 

Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa (1888 – 1935) is generally acknowledged as Portugal’s most distinguished and influential poet of the Twentieth Century. Pessoa published his poems under various heteronyms (alter egos with distinctive names and poetic styles). “Autopsicografia,” one of Pessoa’s most translated poems, was written under his own name, which was itself a kind of heteronym.

 

 

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