"The old Greek poetry has a freshness and immediacy about it that is partly a witty irony, partly a commitment to speaking only about the core concerns of humanity, partly a strange dazzling down-to-earthness, and partly the tragic bite of the Greek conceptual language. Who better to introduce us to the lesser-known voices of that tradition than Burton Raffel and Guy Davenport?" --Frederick Turner, author of The Culture of Hope and former editor of The Kenyon Review
"This superb gathering of ancient Greek lyrics, pungently translated by Burton Raffel, could not be more timely or more timeless. The poems are by turns hilarious and heartrending, erotic and elegaic, as fresh as the morning and shadowy as the dusk, yet always living, inescapable, and wise. Guy Davenport contributes an arresting introduction to this very welcome collection.” --Robert Fagles, translator of The Iliad and The Odyssey
"Burton Raffel has added titles and translated with great translucency--real panache!--a marvelous array of lesser known poems and poets from ancient Greece. These brief and entrancing lyric intensities ("drink, and get drunk with me," Alkaios insists) are perennially fresh and inviting, surprised by time, quick with life.” --Edward Hirsch, author of How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry and Lay Back the Darkness
"The ancient Greek anthologists collected many of the world's funniest, and saddest, raunchiest, and wisest poems, which Burton Raffel, a guardian angel among American translators, has delivered breathtakingly alive into our own idiom. If poetry ever mattered, which we know it did and does, this book reminds us why." --Brooks Haxton, author of Uproar and translator of Dances for Flute and Thunder
"These are the Greek poets who have endured through the millennia. Burton Raffel's wonderful translations capture their poetry in all its originality, freshness, and rhythm." --Peter Constantine, winner of the 1998 PEN Translation Award and the 1999 National Translation Award
"These epigrams, epitaphs, fragments, and short poems of the Greek lyricists are witty, wise, and elegant, and they demand of a translator an almost impossible range of humanity and fastidious craftsmanship that I delight to see demonstrated, over and over in Burton Raffel’s splendid English versions." --David R. Slavitt, co-editor of the Penn Complete Greek Drama series and of the Johns Hopkins Complete Roman Drama series
Burton Raffel was a translator, poet, and scholar whose major translations include The Canterbury Tales, Beowulf, Don Quijote, The Red and the Black, and Gargantua and Pantagruel. He also annotated several Shakespeare plays for Yale University Press. He was the distinguished professor emeritus of Arts and Humanities and emeritus professor of English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette until 2003. He lived in Louisiana until his death in 2015.
Guy Davenport (1927–2005), a critic and fiction writer, is best known for two books of essays, The Geography of the Imagination and Every Force Evolves a Form. He published many collections of short stories and numerous translations of early Greek poets and playwrights. A professor of English at the University of Kentucky from 1964 to 1990, he was also a painter and illustrator.