The Poetry of A.E. Stallings

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THE POETRY OF A.E. STALLINGS

Presented by Gary Corseri

OLIVES

Sometimes a craving comes for salt, not sweet,

For fruits that you can eat

Only if pickled in a vat of tears—

A rich and dark and indehiscent meat

Clinging tightly to the pit—on spears


Of toothpicks, maybe, drowned beneath a tide

Of vodka and vermouth,

Rocking at the bottom of a wide,

Shallow, long-stemmed glass, and gentrified;

Or rustic, on a plate cracked like a tooth—


A miscellany of the humble hues

Eponymously drab—

Brown greens and purple browns, the blacks and blues

That chart the slow chromatics of a bruise—

Washed down with swigs of barrel wine that stab


The palate with pine-sharpness. They recall

The harvest and its toil,

The nets spread under silver trees that foil

The blue glass of the heavens in the fall—

Daylight packed in treasuries of oil,


Paradigmatic summers that decline

Like sin …




“Olives” first appeared at The New Criterion.

A. E. Stallings studied Classics at the University of Georgia and Oxford University.  Her poetry has appeared in The Best American Poetry series (1994 & 2000). Her books include: Archaic Smile (Evansville University Press); a new verse translation of Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura (Penguin Classics); and Hapax.  Stallings resides in Athens, Greece with her husband, John Psaropoulos, (editor of The Athens News), and with their small Argonaut, Jason.


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