If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho

If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho

If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho

If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho


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In this "gorgeous translation" (The New York Times), one of our most fearless and original poets provides a tantalizing window onto the genius of a woman whose lyric power spans millennia. 

Of the nine books of lyrics the ancient Greek poet Sappho is said to have composed, only one poem has survived complete. The rest are fragments. In this miraculous new translation, acclaimed poet and classicist Anne Carson presents all of Sappho’s fragments, in Greek and in English, as if on the ragged scraps of papyrus that preserve them, inviting a thrill of discovery and conjecture that can be described only as electric—or, to use Sappho’s words, as “thin fire ... racing under skin.” 

"Carson is in many ways [Sappho's] ideal translator.... Her command of language is hones to a perfect edge and her approach to the text, respectful yet imaginative, results in verse that lets Sappho shine forth." —Los Angeles Times

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375724510
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/12/2003
Series: Vintage Contemporaries
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 39,521
Product dimensions: 5.17(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

ANNE CARSON was born in Canada and has been a professor of Classics for over thirty years. Her awards and honors include the Lannan Award, the Pushcart Prize, the Griffin Trust Award for Excellence in Poetry, and fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundations.

Read an Excerpt

Fragment 22

if not, winter
]no pain
]I bid you sing of Gongyla, Abanthis, taking up your lyre as (now again) longing floats around you.

you beauty. For her dress when you saw it stirred you. And I rejoice.
In fact she herself once blamed me

because I prayed this word:
I want

Fragment 47

Eros shook my mind like a mountain wind falling on oak trees

Fragment 52

I would not think to touch the sky with two arms

Fragment 56

not one girl I think who looks on the light of the sun will ever have wisdom like this

Fragment 147

someone will remember us
I say even in another time

Fragment 162

with what eyes?

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