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Poems and Fragments

4.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,254 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
Little remains today of the writings of the archaic Greek poet Sappho (fl. late 7th and early 6th centuries B.C.E.), whose work is said to have filled nine papyrus rolls in the great library at Alexandria some 500 years after her death. The surviving texts consist of a lamentably small and fragmented body of lyric poetry--among them, poems of invocation, desire, spite, cel ...more
Paperback, 68 pages
Published March 1st 2002 by Hackett (first published -600)
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Jul 19, 2013 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, classics
This book collects the entire known surviving works of the Greek poet, Sappho, who managed to cause her native island of Lesbos to become permanently associated with female homosexuality and have her own name modified into an adjective. Unfortunately for such an influential woman, her extant works sum to a slim volume of fragments from larger poems. This seems to be a great loss, as what does remain is remarkable.

Sappho famously dealt with the love and life of women as seriously as Homer dealt w
Johan Thilander
Vi måste prata om Poochigian.
Inför denna översättning så vill han nämligen närma sig musikaliteten hos Sapfo, något han känner att andra översättningar har försummat. Hans lösning?
As Sapphic stanzas are still a novelty in English poetry, they would not be helpful to most readers. Since all of Sappho's poems are song-lyrics, I opted to translate them as English lyric poems.

Vill säga: han har skrivit hennes dikter på rim. Inte för att Sapfo skrev på rim (det gjorde hon inte) utan för att "it is on
Max Maxwell
Apr 13, 2009 Max Maxwell rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Historically-inclined hypersensitive poets
Recommended to Max by: Harold Bloom (well, the author, anyway)
Ancient Greece was pretty emo. Whether it's lines like "There's a hole burning inside of me" (from Euripides' Medea , and source of Courtney Love's band's name), or the whole effeminate guys thing, or the quick-to-anger, quick-to-get-emotional attitude of goddesses like Artemis and Hera, the whole body of literature sits pretty nicely next to Brand New's discography. As we all know, emo kids seem to enjoy poetry involving words like "heart" and "feelings," so maybe they'd be interested in takin ...more
Nov 09, 2014 Zelda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
I prepared for my reading of Sappho by making sure I had another book with me at all times behind which I could hide my actual reading. Such was my belief in the myth of Sappho as the writer of toe-curling, girl-on-girl erotica. Imagine my disappointment surprise to learn that the few fragments that we have of Sappho's writing are impossibly tame. You have to have a LOT of historical context and take a pretty huge leap of faith to read these poems as dirty.

But you don't have to read into them t
Jan 07, 2015 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved these. I found some of the fragments so moving and so poignant. It truly amazes me that something written by a woman so separated from us by time and culture, a world away, really, can still hit so close to home. It sounds so strange but I feel so close to Sappho after reading only a handful of her poems, like I know her personally - if only we had more of her work available to us today!
Aug 29, 2014 H.J. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Sappho is nostalgia. I am rarely nostalgic about secondary school, but I am about Sappho. I admit that, at the time, I still had no idea how much my favorite poetess would come to mean to me, but all the same I enjoyed the poems at the time. Even though they were fragmented. Even though they were about a completely different world.

And yet. I can still read a Sappho poem and feel touched by it, even though it was written more than a millennium ago. Which, yes, has someth
Michael Palkowski
Sappho is a literary construct, mythological more than tangible as her oeuvre consists of a single surviving poem with other fragments derived from scraps of parchment or quotations from other authors most of whom reproduced the work with the understanding that the reader probably knew the passage in question. Her life is a complicated set of identities and ideas supplanted onto a literary output. The introduction of the book delineates this quite well by discussing the various voyages and liter ...more
Darran Mclaughlin
Apr 07, 2013 Darran Mclaughlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: greek, poetry, woman
It's difficult to offer any real opinion about this work. What fragments have been preserved are beautiful and Sappho was venerated by Greek and Roman authorities who had access to a much wider range of her work. Her work is strikingly personal and subjective, describing sights and smells, feelings and emotions with a vividness and directness which stands in contrast to the epic poetry of Homer. This is why her poetry has lost none of it's appeal and can still be read by people today with unfeig ...more
Apr 30, 2016 Belén rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
...Yo te buscaba y llegaste,
y has refrescado mi alma que ardía de ausencia.

ἦλθες, ἔγω δέ σ' ἐμαιόμαν,
ὂν δ' ἔψυξας ἔμαν φρένα καιομέναν πόθῳi.

No tengo nada que decir de Safo, todo es perfecto. La edición no tanto porque no recoge todos sus poemas y el editor insiste en que las chicas solo son sus amigas. Gals being pals.
Kyle Muntz
Feb 04, 2015 Kyle Muntz rated it it was amazing
One of the best translations of Sappho I've read (I think this is something like six or seven?). I love that Lombardo embraces the brokenness of the text, so a lot of this feels a very modern, almost avant-garde take on Sappho, though it's been fascinating to see these same fragments translated again and again in such different ways.
Oct 24, 2009 Hamish rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
The Greeks thought Sappho was a great poet and they were probably correct, I'm not going to dispute this, but it's hard to tell reading only these fragments. Not only are all but one of the poems incomplete, they're also translated, so they're already two generations away from being read the way Sappho presumably intended. Sure, they're enjoyable and there's a certain pleasure in reading and savoring an individual line, but are the lines great in and of themselves, or would random lines and phra ...more
Monty Milne
Jan 15, 2016 Monty Milne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Those reading Sappho in the hopes of finding some lubricious lesbianism will be disappointed. There is nothing here which would have caused my paternal grandmother to so much as raise an eyebrow, and she was so politically and morally reactionary as to consider Genghis Khan a dangerous social liberal. Sappho, as the introduction notes, is largely a literary construct. What we do have are some tantalising fragments, often rescued from papier-maché wadding used in the lining of old coffins. Their ...more
Aug 09, 2013 Daria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am biased. I wish I was reading her poems in Greek. Now that I am learning ancient Greek, English here feels anachronistic. I think this is probably a great book but I am blinded by my passion for the native language.
Neena Joy
Mar 21, 2016 Neena Joy rated it it was amazing
Sappho is BAE.
Feb 09, 2016 rudy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*4.5/5 stars*

I really enjoyed these poem and fragments. But because this is my first taste of Ancient Greek literature, I know there were some references that were lost on me. Regardless, it was fascinating to experience Ancient Greece through Sappho's eyes. I love the personality I have in my head for her (which is supported the text). I see her as a intellectual lesbian poet who loves material things and everything to be extravagant. And there is something about that that appeals to me so muc
Oct 03, 2015 Brittany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is unfortunate that so little of Sappho's writing is preserved/known. This book left me wanting to read so much more.
Apr 21, 2011 Oneflwover rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I don't know what the right course is;
Twofold are my purposes."
Oct 16, 2011 Blake rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, poetry
What's finest in these fragments must have been exquisite to behold in the unscratched originals, because the poet's talent is visible enough even in these miniscule presentations. Some of the pieces are so small that they barely form coherent ideas and when they do there is no context or location in which to place them. Still, they have a strange authenticity to what they portray.

The poet's strengths are in originating the vivid poetical paintings of the emotional life. She achieved this throug
Mar 30, 2014 Black&white rated it really liked it
Fragments is sure an apt title here since of most poems we only have loose words left and no longer even entire sentences which makes the whole appear shockingly modern to the reader these days. Given the condition of the whole you would expect this to be only of academic value and still what remains here is really beautiful and vibrant and makes it a real tragedy that we lost so much here. These words are so beautiful still.
André Shart
Apr 21, 2016 André Shart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed

Pudesse esta noite durar
não uma mas duas noites inteiras...

Assim pudesse a poesia de Safo nunca se esgotar,
nem a censura ter posto termo
à sua voz.

E pudessem ter restado mais do que fragmentos
e versos soltos...

Palavras poucas,
mas que nos são queridas.
Vincent Russo
Jan 01, 2016 Vincent Russo rated it really liked it
Much of the poetry of Sappho has been lost throughout time, but this book serves as an excellent collection of what remains. Although a lot of the poems are fragmented, the translators notes has some great information on these works, giving it some context.
Timothy Ferguson
Mar 12, 2013 Timothy Ferguson rated it it was ok
It’s hard to like Sappho. I know, I know, I’m being horrible. She’s an early feminist icon and she was a great poet and all of that sort of thing, but we have only one poem of hers in complete form, and the rest of the fragments have been so deeply mined by other poets that its hard to see where she’s being original. Sure, the first time someone said that moonlight was like silver that was mindblowing stuff…and it may well have been her, but her metaphors are tired now, and her work is so fragme ...more
Jul 05, 2016 Krystyne rated it really liked it
Her poems are beautiful and unique. What makes them unique is that she is not afraid to express her 'feminine' perspective on things. She is not afraid of her sexuality and her wit. Besides all that, her poems are just beautiful to read.
May 02, 2016 Ben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
anne carson's translations remain my favourite, for their starkness and creativity, but these win on historical accuracy; a passionately argued commentary gives context throughout, and it's Sappho so it's beautiful.
Jan 02, 2016 Rhys rated it it was ok
The Ancient Greeks claimed that Sappho was one of their best poets. It seems wise to accept this judgment on trust. The problem is that not enough of her work has survived to make any profound statements about the quality and originality of her work, and certainly not about her life. It's slightly bizarre that so much has been read into her personal life (and inclinations) on the basis of these tiny scraps of surviving verse. Very little can be said. She was reckoned in olden days to be one of t ...more
Jun 02, 2016 Britt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actually read and translated the original Greek poems for school, but that is not a book. Oh well... The poems stay beautiful, no matter the language.
I slightly prefer Anne Carson's translations in If Not, Winter. Beautiful fragments.
Mar 04, 2016 Bob rated it really liked it
Always worth reading Sappho.
Marts  (Thinker)
Jul 28, 2014 Marts (Thinker) rated it it was amazing
A collection of poems by the Greek poet, Sappho, of the island of Lesbos. Many of Sappho's poems dealt with love and admiration for other women.

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Sappho (Σαπφώ or Ψάπφω) was an Ancient Greek lyric poet, born on the island of Lesbos. In history and poetry texts, she is sometimes associated with the city of Mytilene on Lesbos; she was also said to have been born in Eresos, another city on Lesbos. Her birth was sometime between 630 BC and 612 BC, and it is said that she died around 570 BC. The bulk of her poetry, which was well-known and great ...more
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That later on,
Even in an age unlike our own,
Someone will remember who we are.”
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