Aliki Barnstone, Professor of English, University of Las Vegas

Event Date: 
Wednesday, February 7, 2007 - 14:45

A reading of recent book translations of the poetry of C.P. Cavafy. THE HORSES OF ACHILLES by C.P. Cavafy When they saw Patroklos killed, who was so brave and strong and young, Achilles’ horses began to cry, their immortal nature outraged to witness the work of death. They tossed their heads and waved their long manes, stamped their hooves on the ground, and they mourned Patroklos, whom they felt was soulless—ruined— flesh made lowly now—his spirit lost— defenseless—without breath— he had gone from life back to the big Nothing. Zeus saw the immortal horses’ tears and was sorry. He said, “I should not have acted so mindlessly at the wedding of Peleus; it would have been better if we had not given you away, my unhappy horses! What are you doing down there with miserable human beings, fate’s playthings. Neither death nor old age pursue you, yet fleeting disasters torment you. Men entangled you in their sufferings.” But for the endless disaster of death, the two noble animals shed their tears. Aliki Barnstone is a poet, translator, critic, and editor. Her books of poems are Blue Earth (Iris, 2004), Wild With It (Sheep Meadow, 2002), a National Books Critics Circle Notable Book, Madly in Love (Carnegie-Mellon, 1997), Windows in Providence (Curbstone, 1981), and The Real Tin Flower (which was introduced by Anne Sexton and was published by Macmillan in 1968, when she was twelve years old). Her translation, The Collected Poems of C.P. Cavafy came out with W.W. Norton in 2006. She has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize twice. This event was co-sponsored by the Poetry Center, SFSU