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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Robert Ely Bagg

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? I trained to be both a writer and a teacher at Amherst College. I learned Greek from the two best professors at Amherst, then became a professor for two years at the University of Whington in Seattle, then for 26 years at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Retired in 1996. I’ve published six books of poetry (one a finalist for both the Pulitzer and NBA) and translations of five plays by Sophocles and four by Euripides. The translations have been staged in 74 productions on four continents. I’m currently finishing a book of four more plays by Euripides: Helen, Elektra, Alcestis & Andomache.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? Never had writer’s block.

What is your favorite time to write? Mornings. In the afternoons, during Spring, Summer, and Fall I golf 3 or 4 times a week.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Walker Gibson said to bring your rhymes out of left field. That has shock value. James Merrill, who taught a year at Amherst (he was a grad) told me to pay attention to the little words.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? I haven’t dealt yet with the pandemic. Maybe I will next year.

Robert Ely Bagg‘s translation of Four by Euripides: Medea, Bakkhai, Hippolytos, and Cyclops is out now with University of Massachusetts Press.