Sweetbitter Love

Sweetbitter Love

Poems of Sappho

Book - 2006
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Sappho is the greatest lyric poet of antiquity. Plato, a century after her death, referred to her as "the Tenth Muse," and Longinos, in his first-century treatise "On the Sublime," uses her verse to exemplify that transcendent quality in literature. In Sappho's lyrics we hear for the first time in the West the words of an individual woman of her own world: her apprehension of sun and orchards; the troubles and summits of love, desire, and friendship. Her poems combine an impression of intimate self-involvement with an almost modern sense of detachment.

Though time has reduced the nine volumes of her work to a handful of complete poems and a collection of fragments, each word and phrase that survives is poignantly significant. The clarity of her voice, its absolute candor, its amazing fresh authority--whether in addressing a goddess, dancers before a night altar, the moon and stars, a sweet apple or mountain hyacinth, a lamb or cricket, a lover or companion--are qualities that compel us today as in antiquity.

Willis Barnstone has given us a close and beautiful lyrical version. His translation, with the original Greek on facing pages, includes a dozen hitherto unintelligible fragments that have been brought vibrantly back to life by him, as well as Sappho's newly discovered poem from the Cologne papyrus in its complete form. It also contains the translator's essay placing the poet in her historic and artistic context; a glossary; extensive notes; an epilogue and metrical guide by William E. McCulloh, Professor Emeritus of Classics at Kenyon College; and a special section of testimonia : appreciations of Sappho in the words of her ancient admirers.

Publisher: Boston : Shambhala, 2006.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9781590301753
1590301757
Branch Call Number: 884.01
Characteristics: xlix, 316 p. ; 23 cm.
Additional Contributors: Barnstone, Willis 1927-

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