April Word of Mouth

Coffins of Khnum-Nakht and Nakht-Ankh, photo courtesy of the Manchester Museum

DNA: 4,000-year-old Egyptian mummies were thought to be brothers. Genetics tells a different story — Ben Guarino, Washington Post

Non-Fiction: The Bridge to Brilliance: How One Woman and One Community Are Inspiring the World — Nadia Lopez and Rebecca Paley

Fiction: Improvement Joan Silber

Productivity: The 12-Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks Than Others Do in 12 Months — Brian Moran

Music: Blue Soul — Blue Mitchell Sextet

TV: Jessica Jones — Melissa Rosenberg

Podcast: The Good Fight — Yascha Mounck

Ancient Inspiration: “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”

Meditations, 8.47 — Marcus Aurelius

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March Word of Mouth

 

Delight: A Taste of Paris: A History of the Parisian Love Affair with Food — David Downie

Non-Fiction: Women and Power: A Manifesto –– Mary Beard

Non-Fiction: So You Want to Talk About Race — Ijeoma Oluo

Strategy: How life Imitates Chess: Making the Right Moves, from the Board to the Boardroom Garry Kasparov

TV: False Flag — Amit Cohen, Maria Feldman

 

Song: O Menina Dança –Novos Baianos

Not so ancient inspiration: A cynical young person is almost the saddest sight to see, because it means that he or she has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing.  Maya Angelou

Sulpicia: indiscretion has its charms

Roman fresco (c. 53-79 CE) of a young woman with stylus and wax tablets, from the National Archaeological Museum of Naples. Found in Pompeii.

Roman fresco (c. 53-79 CE) from the National Archaeological Museum of Naples. Found in Pompeii. Probably not the poet Sulpicia, but an ancient woman with a writing implement, nonetheless.

Many women wrote poetry in ancient Rome, but the works of only one have survived. Six short poems written by Sulpicia, the daughter of the jurist and orator Servius Sulpicius Rufus, and the niece of the statesman and patron of the arts Valerius Messalla Corvinus, have survived, handed down as part of the Corpus Tibullianum, a collection of poems by Tibullus and other poets affiliated with Messalla. Sulpicia lived during the time of Augustus.

The above description adapted from Diatoma and The Handbook to life in Ancient Rome, by Lesley Adkins and Roy A. Adkins.

1.

At last. It’s come. Love,
the kind that veiling
will give me reputation more
than showing my soul naked to someone.
I prayed to Aphrodite in Latin, in poems;
she brought him, snuggled him
into my bosom.
Venus has kept her promises:
let her tell the story of my happiness,
in case some woman will be said
not to have had her share.
I would not want to trust
anything to tablets, signed and sealed,
so no one reads me
before my love–
but indiscretion has its charms;
it’s boring
to fit one’s face to reputation.
May I be said to be
a worthy lover for a worthy love.

From Sulpicia: Six Poems. Translation copyright Lee Pearcy; all rights reserved.