India Halstead

The 3rd century poet Corinna achieved wide fame in her home of Tanagra, in Boeotia, where she competed with Pindar.

The first part of this poem is too damaged to allow reconstruction. The more substantial lines, however, can be ‘completed’ in various ways: writers can suppress the grim theme of rape by supplementing gaps with vague euphemisms, or choose to describe the capture of Aesop’s daughters by Zeus in explicit terms.

In both versions of the translation, I wanted the grisly details to be as unequivocal in the English as they often are the Greek. In spite of this, it is easy for euphemism to end up overreaching the supplements and become sutured to the text itself. The slippage between evasive and explicit language thus occurs both in the steganographic messages and the supplemented asides, exposing a constant tension between supplement, text, and translation.


India Halstead teaches, researches and publishes work on Classical Mythology, Literary Translation, Gender and Sexuality and Poetry and Poetics. Under the supervision of Professor Emily Wilson, recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” grant for her translation of Homer’s Odyssey, she began writing poems of her own this summer. She was awarded the Laurel Wreath at The 2020 International Poetry Olympics run by Cerasus Press, with whom she is now working to publish a first solo collection

Read India Halstead on translating the poetry of Corinna and Erinna.


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