8 posts tagged with Sappho and poetry.
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"There is something maddeningly attractive about the untranslatable"

Variations on the Right to Remain Silent is an essay by poet and classicist Anne Carson about translation, cliché, divine language and the way some words violently resist being explained. She touches on Homer, Sappho, Joan of Arc, Friedrich Hölderlin, and the painter Francis Bacon.
posted by Kattullus on Mar 28, 2015 - 6 comments

Bittersweet

Since the late 19th century, the amount of her writing we have access to has more than doubled and our views of sexuality have changed, leading to constant modern reexamination of one of the greatest poets the world has ever seen: Who was Sappho? And just how much does her sexuality and her personal life matter to a discussion of her work?
Some ancient writers assumed that there had to have been two Sapphos: one the great poet, the other the notorious slut. There is an entry for each in the Suda. The uncertainties plaguing the biography of literature’s most famous Lesbian explain why classicists who study Sappho like to cite the entry for her in Monique Wittig and Sande Zeig’s “Lesbian Peoples: Material for a Dictionary” (1979). To honor Sappho’s central position in the history of female homosexuality, the two editors devoted an entire page to her. The page is blank. . . . Even as we strain to hear this remarkable woman’s sweet speech, the thrumming in our ears grows louder.
Previously: Metafilter (awesomely) tackles the newly discovered "Brothers Poem" in real time.
posted by sallybrown on Mar 9, 2015 - 41 comments

Sappho's sixth and seventh poems

Although she is a literary legend, only one complete poem of Sappho's survives, along with substantial fragments of four others (the last discovered in 2004). Now two new fragments have been discovered. [more inside]
posted by Athanassiel on Jan 28, 2014 - 89 comments

Elpenor - Home of the Greek Word

Elpenor - Home of the Greek Word is a site built around a bilingual anthology of all periods of Greek literature, but there's more, including ancient greek lessons, a collection of texts by non-Greeks about Greece, a gallery of Orthodox Christ icons and an online resource-guide on Byzantium. [more inside]
posted by Kattullus on Nov 6, 2007 - 5 comments

Hot Sapphic Love (poem)

New Sappho poem found. Combining a Cologne University fragment found in the cartonnage of an Egpytian mummy with a fragment from Oxyrhynchus has allowed the reconstruction of Sappho's fourth poem. The Oxyrhynchus papyri have been much in the news lately, what with the discovery of the earliest fragment of Revelations to give the number of the beast as 616 and the publication of several lines from Sophocles' lost tragedy The Progeny (scroll down). Infra-red imaging techniques may not be sexy, but Sappho sure is. After all, Plato said she was worthy of being considered not only as a poet but as a muse. Sappho herself is a palimpsest or a sort of cypher. We know next to nothing about her -- including whether she was lesbian or not. One thing's for sure: she almost certainly wasn't a schoolmistress.
posted by melmoth on Jun 24, 2005 - 15 comments

Sappho: Poem of Jealousy (26 Translations)

Are you not amazed at how she evokes soul, body, hearing, tongue, sight, skin, as though they were external and belonged to someone else? And how at one and the same moment she both freezes and burns, is irrational and sane, is terrified and nearly dead, so that we observe in her not a single emotion but a whole concourse of emotions? Such things do, of course, commonly happen to people in love. Sappho’s supreme excellence lies in the skill with which she selects the most striking and vehement circumstances of the passions and forges them into a coherent whole.   Longinus, On the Sublime
Sappho’s poem of jealousy survives only because the ancient critic Longinus quoted it as a supreme example of poetic intensity--now Ken Knabb has put up 26 translations of it in the English at the Gateway to the Vast Realms , the literature and texts section of his Bureau of Public Secrets. And wait! There's more!
posted by y2karl on Oct 2, 2004 - 10 comments

The Songs of Bilitis

The Songs of Bilitis. 'First published in Paris in 1894, this purports to be translations of poems by a woman named Bilitis, a contemporary and acquaintance of Sappho. This caused a sensation, not only because finding an intact cache of poems from a completely unknown Greek poet circa 600 B.C. would be a miracle, but because of its open and sensitive exploration of lesbian eroticism. Actually Bilitis never existed. The poems were a clever forgery by Pierre Louÿs--the "translator"; to lend weight, he had even included a bibliography with bogus supporting works ... '
A new addition to the sacred-texts.com canon.
posted by plep on Dec 2, 2003 - 8 comments

Kenneth Rexroth, Sappho, and The Bureau Of Public Secrets

The Bureau Of Public Secrets, Kenneth Rexroth and Sappho. It was while looking for this fragment of hers, translated by him--(Details within)
posted by y2karl on Aug 20, 2002 - 7 comments

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