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Sappho: A New Translation (World Literature in Translation) (Paperback)
A rousing rendition of this fascinating artifact of humanity.
A beat-up old copy of this book lives in my kitchen, alone on its perch within easy reach. It is my favorite way to spend a minute, and it is the answer to a not-insignificant number of questions:
Waiting for water to boil? Sappho.
Oven preheating? Sappho.
Cookies baking? Sappho.
I'm never sure which thing I find more extraordinary -- that these slim fragments have survived for more than 2500 years (and to think what was lost!), or that despite the gulf of time, so much of her work reads like it was written yesterday: stars just as beautiful, love as bittersweet.
In the immortal words of Sappho, "Let me tell you this: Someone in some future time will think of us."
--Matt, Longfellow Books— From Matt Recommends!
These hundred poems and fragments constitute virtually all of Sappho that survives and effectively bring to life the woman whom the Greeks consider to be their greatest lyric poet. Mary Barnard's translations are lean, incisive, direct—the best ever published. She has rendered the beloved poet's verses, long the bane of translators, more authentically than anyone else in English.
About the Author
Mary Barnard (1909–2001) was a prominent American poet, translator, and biographer with many books in her repertoire. She studied Greek at Reed College and began to translate at Ezra Pound's suggestion in the 1930s. Her Assault on Mount Helicon: A Literary Memoir was published by the University of California Press in 1984. Two years later she received the Western States Book Award for her book-length poem, Time and the White Tigress. She also published prose fiction and a volume of essays on mythology as well as the original lyrics gathered in Collected Poems.