Synopses & Reviews
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." By combining the ancient mysteries of Sappho with the contemporary wizardry of one of our most fearless and original poets, If Not, Winter provides a tantalizing window onto the genius of a woman whose lyric power spans millennia.
A bilingual edition of the work of the Greek poet Sappho, in a new translation by Anne Carson.
Sappho lived on the island of Lesbos from about 630 b.c. She was a musical genius who devoted her life to composing and performing songs. Of the nine books of lyrics Sappho is said to have composed, none of the music is extant and only one poem has survived complete. All the rest are fragments. In If Not, Winter Carson presents all of Sappho's fragments in Greek and in English. Brackets and space give the reader a sense of what is absent as well as what is present on the papyrus. Carson's translation illuminates Sappho's reflections on love, desire, marriage, exile, cushions, bees, old age, shame, time, chickpeas and many other aspects of the human situation.
About the Author
Anne Carson lives in Canada.