July/Aug 2020 • Vol. XLII No. 4 July 1, 2020 |

Epigram 57; Epigram 58

An imitation of Callimachus’s epigrams These poems adapt, very liberally, epigrams by Callimachus, who lived and wrote in Greek, in Alexandria, during the second century BCE. Admired for his poetry in his own day, and by later poets of classical antiquity (Catullus, for example), he also worked as a teacher and as a librarian. Fans, then and now, praised his wit, his learning, and his ability to draw self-consciously on earlier Greek culture, legend, and verse. The modern term epigram can mean a poem, or a sentence, that’s witty or wise or lighthearted, and very general. His epigrams (which survive as a complete collection) include epitaphs, love poems, and dedicatory inscriptions, as well as remarks about his own poetry and about rival poets’ work. His narrative hymns, telling stories about the gods, also survive as a book, but his most famous, and most controversial poem in his own day, was a collection called the Aetia (“Origins”), explaining the otherwise mysterious b

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Stephanie Burt is professor of English at Harvard and the author of several books of poetry and literary criticism, most recently Don’t Read Poetry (Basic, 2019). These imitations of Callimachus come from her collection, After Callimachus, published by Princeton University Press this spring.

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Epigram 62

By Stephanie Burt

An imitation of Callimachus’s epigrams These poems adapt, very liberally, epigrams by Callimachus, who lived and wrote in Greek, in Alexandria, during the second century BCE. Admired for his poetry […]

Epigram 6

By Stephanie Burt

An imitation of Callimachus’s epigrams These poems adapt, very liberally, epigrams by Callimachus, who lived and wrote in Greek, in Alexandria, during the second century BCE. Admired for his poetry […]

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