A.E. Stallings

A.E. Stallings is the Oxford Professor of Poetry. This Afterlife: Selected Poems was published by Carcanet in December 2022.

Poem: ‘Blackbird at Dawn’

A.E. Stallings, 18 July 2024

Central Athens

Too full of fret to sleep, I roseTo hear the grey of dawnAnd watch the shapes of things composeBefore the day turned on.A motorcycle one street overMade the morning shift(Or furtive homecoming from lover).The dark began to sift

Like coffee grounds. Then liquid, clear,As cool as water, brightAs sunlight striking windows, sheerMusic scaled a heightPast fire escapes, so that I heardA...

Poem: ‘Saronic’

A.E. Stallings, 6 June 2024

I saw nine dolphins once churn three by three         In echelons behind a ferry boat                  As though a combine harvested the sea,

Curving toward our wake as asymptote,         But only three at once above the brine.                  One...

Poem: ‘The Golden Shrug’

A.E. Stallings, 16 November 2023

(after visiting The World of Stonehenge at the British Museum)

For Ange Mlinko

When did museums devolve to the didacticSpelling out our wonder? Not enoughTo show us something wonderful – the tacticIs multimedia to smooth the roughEdges of the imagination – ‘thwacks’Piped in to whet the silence of an axe,

Or see: those skeletons of ponderous oxenSacrificed still...

Poem: ‘Snowdrops’

A.E. Stallings, 18 May 2023

Graveyard of St Peter-in-the-East, St Edmund Hall

For E.M.

Snowdrop, snowdrop, tell:what news of the underground,the weather in Hell?

Your toes are tickledby the beards of the dead, theirslanted stones deckled

and foxed with lichen-rings of shaggy galaxies.In flocks you beckon

me to read shallow-graven names on time-thumbed tomes.Soon you’ll sallow, snow-

drop: now so new, yetyour hair’s...

From The Blog
29 March 2023

The old road from Athens to Elefsina – the modern name for Eleusis – is still called the Sacred Way, though there is also a modern highway that does the trick. In ancient times, the initiated, or those wanting to become initiated, would travel the ten-odd miles from Athens to experience the ‘Eleusinian Mysteries’.

Much of A.E. Stallings’s work can seem like light verse that suddenly appals: solid, foundational stanzas that chat directly with you, distracting you from the fact that you’re perched with her, Humpty...

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