Literature Program

Monday, October 6, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.

New translations by William Sylvester -- Performed by Cliff Bernier & Verneice Turner

Monologues/Dialogues from Aeschylus's Oresteia

Welcoming words by Trudy Stern & ryki zuckerman
Introduction & Closing by William Sylvester

"Have we humans changed much since the Trojan War?" Inspired by several readings of his translations from the Oresteia by Aeschylus, poet and professor emeritus William Sylvester's translations have been assembled to create a performance piece entitled Monologues/Dialogues from Aeschylus' Oresteia, tied together by a persona named "The Elder" who is not part of the translations, but acts as chorus. With excerpts from Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, and The Eumenides (or Furies), these raw, literal, "spoken-word feel" (an expression used by one of the readers of the work) translations will be read by performance poets Cliff Bernier of Washington, DC (2007 Pushcart Prize Nominee) and Verneice Turner of Buffalo (a 2008 Artie winner), with opening words from poets/writers/reading series hosts, ryki zuckerman and Trudy Stern, and introductory and closing remarks by Bill Sylvester, author of After Aelian, a collection of poems, and other works.

Bill Sylvester, on what inspired him to pursue his translations:

"One of the great poets today, Anne Carson, a classicist and a poet, too, surely headed for a Bollingen Prize, translated four Greek tragedies by Euripedes, and called them Grief Lessons. I was struck by the enormous power and drive of these translations, and I thought to myself that Anne must have taken considerable liberties with the Greek. Surprise! She really is a classicist and a great poet, and everything she does can be justified by the Greek. And yet...Having written previous translations from the Oresteia myself, I realized I had to do them all over again. The so called 'minor' characters deserved a major voice, such as Kassandra, who foresees coming disasters, though nobody will listen."

Some publications related to this event:
October, 2008 - 2008