Sappho sang her poetry to the accompaniment of the lyre on the Greek island of Lesbos over 2500 years ago. Throughout the Greek world, her contemporaries composed lyric poetry full of passion, and in the centuries that followed the golden age of archaic lyric, new forms of poetry emerged. In this unique anthology, today's reader can enjoy the works of seventeen poets, including a selection of archaic lyric and the complete surviving works of the ancient Greek women poets—the latter appearing together in one volume for the first time.
Sappho's Lyre is a combination of diligent research and poetic artistry. The translations are based on the most recent discoveries of papyri (including "new" Archilochos and Stesichoros) and the latest editions and scholarship. The introduction and notes provide historical and literary contexts that make this ancient poetry more accessible to modern readers.
Although this book is primarily aimed at the reader who does not know Greek, it would be a splendid supplement to a Greek language course. It will also have wide appeal for readers of' ancient literature, women's studies, mythology, and lovers of poetry.
Diane Rayor is Professor in the Classics Department, Grand Valley State University, Michigan. She is co-translator, with Stanley Lombardo, of Callimachus (Johns Hopkins 1988). W. R. Johnson is Professor of Classics at the University of Chicago and the author of, among other works, The Idea of Lyric (California 1982).
"The translations are excellent—at once literal, graceful, and idiomatic—and the poems have been selected in a way that is unparalleled in any comparable collection and is responsive to contemporary concerns."—Sheila Murnaghan, author of Disguise and Recognition in the Odyssey
"As English poems in their own right, and as honest and sensitive transpositions of the Greek songs, these works surpass any translations of the archaic lyrists that I have seen."—John Herington, author of Poetry into Drama
Translation Center Merit Award, Translation Center at Columbia University