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Archaic Smile: Poems Hardcover – November 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 69 pages
  • Publisher: Univ of Evansville Pr; 1st edition (November 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0930982525
  • ISBN-13: 978-0930982522
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

A.E. Stallings is a graduate of the University of Georgia and Oxford University in classical studies. Her poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies including Poetry, Sparrow, The Formalist, Atlanta Review, Pushcart Prize XXII, and The Best American Poetry (1994). She has also received the 1997 Eunice Tietjens Memorial Prize from Poetry magazine and the 1991 James Dickey Prize from Five Points. A native of Georgia, she currently lives in Athens, Greece.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 14 customer reviews
A.E. Stallings' poems are original, elegant, memorable, and meaningful.
Wade Newman
Her book is inspiring for its demonstration that classical forms can have pertinent use and meaning in the contemporary world of poetry.
Kimberly Martz
Alicia Stallings' first collection of poetry is one of the most amazing books I've read.
adead_poet@hotmail.com

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Kimberly Martz on May 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
From mythology and its great figures to the small, yet pertinent moments of personal experience, Ms. Stallings' first collection leaves in its wake an immense feeling awe and satisfaction. There is nothing archaic in Stallings' use of language or the image -- she allows "old" figures to speak from new perspectives, and in doing so recreates for us the world of their stories. Her book is inspiring for its demonstration that classical forms can have pertinent use and meaning in the contemporary world of poetry.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Brentley on December 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If you like the poetry of Thomas Hardy, Y.B.Yeats, Robert Frost, Edwin Arlington Robinson, George Santayana, Walter de la Mare, Richard Wilbur, Elizabeth Daryush, Elizabeth Jennings, Catherine Breese Davis, John Masefield, Stanley Kunitz and Gjertrud Schnackenburg, you will enjoy this new entry into the New Formalist roster. Compression of thought, clarity of expression, vivid metaphors, technical mastery of rhyme/meter all coalesce into strong poetry that asks to be read and re-read. Some powerful favorites include Tour of Labyrinth, Why the Saying is 'As the Crow Flies' and the following excerpt, The Mistake:
The mistake was light and easy in my hand,/ A seed meant to be scattered upon the land;/ I did not have to bury it or blow/ But opened up my palm and let it go./ The mistake was dry and small and without weight/ So wind could quickly snatch it toward its fate/ And even had I sought to circumvent/ Nobody dared inform me where it went./ The mistake would never meet my thoughts again,/ Until the spring came, soft and full of rain./ There in the yard fresh dandelions grew/ Compounding my misstep - then (oops!) they blew.
Technical mastery is a necessary but not sufficient condition of outstanding poetry. I look forward to further work that builds on the solid foundation found here,well on the way to excellence. While most of her themes are rooted in classical Greek mythology, the more she can bring her themes into the 21st Century will show whether she is capable of joining the list of poets mentioned above who have passed the true test of time.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Eileen M. Moore on June 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
That over-used tag 'collector's item' is well-deserved by this publication. Readers whose knowledge of Greek myth is rusty or rudimentary need have nothing to fear. A.A.Stallings wears her learning as lightly as she holds the reins of her metrical horses. Humour bubbles up from time to time as does a tenderness which never slurps into sentimentality.
Themes range from the personal (housework, lost belongings, garden disasters) to the public (the instability of urban civilization, the festering scars of war). Practising poets have much to learn from Stallings' easy switches from myth to modern
reality, from colloquial to formal registers. Hers is indeed an art which conceals art.
More, please!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "poemfiend" on September 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This cleverly-titled collection is a stunning debut. I don't usually care much for poems that rewrite mythology but Stallings breathes life--wry humor and genuine emotion--into her versions of Greek mythology. The poems set in the contemporary world are equally adept. Can't wait to see what else this promising poet will deliver.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Wade Newman on November 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
For a first book of poetry, A.E. Stallings' "Archaic Smile" contains an unusually high ratio of excellent poems. The volume represents a blending of scalpel-sharp, formal craftsmanship with intelligently devised content. Twenty years ago, there were very few American poets writing in meter, rhyme, and form. Today there are more than enough for critics to begin to separate the worthwhile from the mediocre. A.E. Stallings' poems are original, elegant, memorable, and meaningful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Erica Bell on July 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Alicia Stallings has been a favorite poet of mine for a couple of years now, and I can't recall being this attached to an artist since my Romance With Larkin, when I was a kid. Her art improves with each reading: simple, strong observations become the bricks with which she creates often shattering poems. If this sounds precious, then listen:

"It's like," decides the telecaster,
"A movie set of...some disaster,"
Lacking, in the wake of these
Tornadoes, useful similes.

But metaphor's the thing that carries
Cold front into warm, that buries
Metal in a man's deep chest,
Uncorks an oak tree with a twist.

The metaphor is green with power,
Spins a hundred miles an hour,
And with a sound of trains it blows
Apart all windows as it goes.

Forsaking emotion for exposition, Stallings often achieves both beautifully. In "A Lament for the Dead Pets of Our Childhood", she writes,

Even now I dream of rabbits murdered
By loose dogs in the dark, the saved-up voice
Split on that last terror, or the springtime
Of lost baby rabbits, grey and blind
As moles, that slipped from birth and from the nest
Into a grey, blind rain, became the mud.
And still I gather up their shapes in dreams--

Stallings finds meaning and symbol in the Greek myths, but they're darker than those in her later collection. In "Tour of the Labyrinth", the Minotaur is an embarrassment--"though one of their own", it's kept in the basement, where it:

...lived a while on rats and bitumen
And played with its one toy, a ball of string,
To puzzle out the darkness it was in.
Read more ›
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