Sappho: The Poems

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Sappho was perhaps the originator of the personal poetry genre. She lived on Lesbos a hundred years before the rise of Athens to pre-eminence. Long after her death, Plato praised her work as that of the Tenth Muse. Later eras, especially the early Christian church, saw her work as abominable because she dealt openly with sex and with feelings, so that her work was almost totally obliterated. A few new pieces emerged in 1950. Many poets have undertaken to translate her work. Sasha Newborn's version is personable, not academic.
A Teacher's edition, the Supplement Edition of Sappho (, contains a wealth of critical comment and background information on Sappho, her poetry, and her times; this was also compiled by Sasha Newborn.
Sappho spoke in Aeolian Greek, and developed musical modes as well. She ran a school for girls that involved performances, presumably of her work as well as others, which would have combined dance, music, and poetry.
Unlike the other great Greek poets, she did not write epics, only a few laudatory odes, and no drinking songs. Her delicately nuanced lines convey much more than the words on the page; one might call it an openness to life.

Another book that centers on love, from the male perspective, is Dante and His Circle (, poetry by the young Dante and more than a dozen Italian poets reviving and refining the rediscovery of love that the Troubadours had celebrated.

The most celebrated lyric poet of the sixth century BCE, Sappho left behind two intact poems and nearly one hundred fragments, and the mystery surrounding her life has fascinated people for centuries. This unabridged miniature edition contains virtually all of Sappho's surviving poetry.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780942208115
  • Publisher: Bandanna Books
  • Publication date: 1/28/1993
  • Series: Humanist Classics Series
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 58
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.14 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Barnard studied Greek at Reed College and began to translate at Ezra Pound's instigation 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 has also published prose fiction and a volume of essays on mythology as well as the original lyrics gathered in Collected Poems, 1979.
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Table of Contents

1 Tell everyone
2 We shall enjoy it
3 Standing by my bed
4 I asked myself
5 And I said
6 I confess
7 At noontime
8 I took my lyre and said
9 Although they are
10 That afternoon
11 We heard them chanting
12 It's no use
13 People do gossip
14 Peace reigned in heaven
15 When I saw Eros
16 You are the herdsman of evening
17 Sleep, darling
18 Although clumsy
19 Tomorrow you had better
20 We put the urn aboard ship
21 Cyprian, in my dream
22 In the spring twilight
23 And their feet move
24 Awed by her splendor
25 Now, while we dance
26 The evening star
27 It is time now
28 For her sake
29 Hymen Hymenaon!
30 We drink your health
31 Bridesmaids' carol I
32 Bridesmaids' carol II
33 They're locked in, oh!
34 Lament for a maidenhead
35 You wear her livery
36 Why am I crying?
37 You know the place: then
38 Prayer to my lady of Paphos
39 He is more than a hero
40 Yes, Atthis, you may be sure
41 To an army wife, in Sardis
42 I have had not one word from her
43 It was you, Atthis, who said
44 Without warning
45 If you will come
46 Thank you, my dear
47 I was so happy
48 Now I know why Eros
49 She was dressed well
50 But you, monkey face
51 I was proud of you, too
52 After all this
53 With his venom
54 Afraid of losing you
55 It is clear now
56 Day in, day out
57 You will say
58 Tell me
59 I said, Sappho
60 You may forget but
61 Pain penetrates
62 The nightingale's
63 Last night
64 Tonight I've watched
65 Persuasion
66 Many's the time
67 At my age
68 That was different
69 This way, that way
70 My lovely friends
71 I ask you, sir, to
72 Of course I love you
73 Yes, it is pretty
74 I hear that Andromeda
75 Well!
76 Sappho, when some fool
77 Strange to say
78 I taught the talented
79 Really, Gorgo
80 As you love me
81 Greetings of Gorgo
82 Rich as you are
83 Don't ask me what to wear
84 If you are squeamish
85 Before they were mothers
86 Experience shows us
87 We know this much
88 Say what you please
89 Then the god of war
90 As for the exiles
91 In memory
92 Do you remember
93 Be kind to me
94 You remind me
95 When they were tired
96 The gods bless you
97 I have often asked you
98 It is the Muses
99 Must I remind you, Cleis
100 I have no compliant
A Footnote to These Translations
Descriptive Index
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