The Infinite Moment

Poetry

Sam Hamill

The Infinite Moment is a personal selection made by a poet known for his elegant translations from several languages, Chinese, Japanese, Estonian, Latin, and now ancient Greek. Drawing from the classic Lyra Graeca and The Greek Anthology, Sam Hamill has made new, American translations of poems in the thousand-year tradition that begins with Sappho, Alcaeus, and Anakreon in the 6th century B.C.E and ends with Paulos Silentarios in the 6th century C.E. The love poems, epigrams, and sly invective of over forty poets remind us once again of the deep wellspring of ancient Greece that nourished the roots of so many cultures. The Greek lyric poem was made to be performed with musical accompaniment, but like its modern descendant it seeks to articulate the experience of insight attained in the infinity of the moment. Says Hamill: "The fundamental experiences of humanity remain simultaneously universal and particular. The tears of Lymnos on the banks of the Akeron are the same tears Hitomaro shed a thousand years later on the shores of the Omi Sea."