The hundred poems and fragments here translated into modern English constitute all of Sappho that survives, and effectively bring to life the woman whom the Greeks consider to be their greatest lyric poet.
Sappho gives us flashes of vivid comment and description - forthright attacks on her enemies, diologues with her friends, and exasperated exchanges with Aphrodite, the goddess who was both enemy and ally. The poems are highly personal and emotional portrayals of the world she lived in twenty-five hundred years ago.
Mary Barnard's translations are lean, incisive, direct. As a result, she has rendered the beloved poet's verse, long the bane of translators, more authentically than anyone else in English.
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We shall enjoy
Standing by my
asked myself 5 And I said
took my lyre and said 9 Although they
People do gossip
Peace reigned in heaven 15 When I saw Eros
You are the herdsman of evening
Tomorrow you had better
That afternoon 11 We heard them chanting