Words that evoke the real lives of long-ago and far-away people have a compelling fascination for most of us. I found this glimpse of a young man from ancient Greece (which was perfectly modern and normal to him) particularly satisfying. I even prefer the snatched lines to the fuller poems. Like phrases that catch your ear as strangers pass in the street, they are both memorable and mysterious, and the one amplifies the other.
Alcaeus’s beautiful and delicate poetry is often overshadowed by the literary reputation of Sappho, his fellow poet and compatriot. R J Dent’s sensitive translation of the poems and Fragments from ancient Greek into lively modern English promises to rescue Alcaeus’s ethereal poetry from obscurity.
Alcaeus’s nobility, conciseness and sweetness combine forcefully with his use of metaphor and his clarity.‘ – Dionysius of Halicamassus, ‘On Imitation’
His poetry smells of vine-leaves and the sea.Peter Levi, ‘A History of Greek Literature
Recreated from fragments of history, and fragments of ancient manuscript…
Buy Alcaeus: Poems and Fragments
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