Illustrations by Miki Lowe
The poet A. E. Stallings lives in Athens, the place the previous is all the time bumping up in opposition to the current and historic ruins stand amid fashionable cafés. The previous and new mingle in her work too. A classics scholar, Stallings tends to attract on Greek mythology and conventional poetic kinds—however she makes use of them to discover totally modern themes.
“Ajar” begins with one thing the traditional Greeks couldn’t have associated to: a washer with a damaged door. When the narrator and her presumed associate are compelled to scrub their garments by hand, their frustration turns into impatience with one another. Maybe a while in silence can be wiser, the opposite individual says. However then Stallings pivots to the story of Pandora’s field—a present from the gods that the titular character wasn’t purported to open, and which wreaked havoc on the world when she did. What if the field launched not illness, conflict, and ache, however phrases? Language is highly effective, Stallings suggests, and recklessly wielded, it could possibly wrench aside a relationship.
Classical allusion may look like a curious solution to write about fashionable home strife. However relationship points are timeless: Even hundreds of years in the past, earlier than the partitions of Greece’s monuments crumbled, there was love and bickering and heartbreak. One can solely think about that, millennia from now, when poets stroll among the many dusty stays of the Taj Mahal or the tattered billboards of Instances Sq., they’ll be stewing over the identical topics.
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