“Not Codes to be Broken”: Five Questions for A.E Stallings

A.E Stallings is an american poet who has studied classics in Athens, Georgia and has after that lived in Athens, Greece since 1999. Stallings has published three books of poetry, the award winning ¨Archaic Smile¨ (1999), ¨Hapax¨ (2000) and ¨Olives¨ (2012).

I got into this poem when I was reading through the BAP (Best American Poetry), from 2010, when I read the poem, “The Barnacle”. The poem is about the barnacle in the marine life. I enjoyed this poem and found it interesting because of my studies of marine science.

Sigurd Glad: Do you have a specific message in your poems? In that case what do you want the readers to get out of it?

Alicia Stallings: No–in fact with my best poems I am myself surprised by what they say. I hope my poems are wiser than I am.

SG: Have your studies of classics changed what inspires you to write? If it has, then how?

AS: No, I think my interest in classics and in poetry spring from the same source. I have always loved mythology and fairy tales, which I think are not very different from each other.

SG: Does writing energize or exhaust you?

AS: Writing is tiring, but when it is going well it is exhilarating. Not writing is sometimes more wearing than writing.

SG: Do you hide any secrets in your poems that only a few people could find?

AS: There are some things in them that friends or family will realize are literally true rather than metaphorical, but also things that seem to be autobiographical that are completely made up. But I don’t hide anything in poems. Poems are not codes to be broken.

SG: What time period in your life do you mostly write about?

AS: Childhood, but also as a parent, now I write about the childhood of my own children. Childhood is the most poetic state, when everything is mysterious and full of meaning.

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