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Poems and Fragments [Paperback]

Sappho , Stanley Lombardo
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
RRP: 7.50
Price: 7.47 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 Mar 2002
A new Sappho by a master poet and translator that treats the fragments as aesthetic wholes, complete in their fragmentariness, and which is also, as the translator puts it: "ever mindful of performative qualities, quality of voice, changes of voice...".


Product details

  • Paperback: 68 pages
  • Publisher: Hackett Publishing Co, Inc; New Ed edition (1 Mar 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872205916
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872205918
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 14 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 979,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Stanley Lombardo is Professor of Classics, University of Kansas.

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Shimmering, iridescent, deathless Aphrodite, child of Zeus, weaver of wiles, Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In Antiquity decent women were supposed to work in the kitchen and to raise their children, nothing more, but there were exceptions. More or less 150 years after Homer's Iliad, Sappho lived on the island of Lesbos, west off the coast of what is Turkey today.. (She went in exile for a short period due to political upheavel).
Sappho was already famous in Antiquity. Plato called her the tenth Muze and someone said her poetry was "as refreshing as a morning breeze".
Some of the best poems of Sappho are those that describe her loneliness.
(#62)
"But if you are my friend,
Go to a younger woman's bed,
For I will not endure an affair
In which I am older than the man."
(#73)
"The moon has set,
And the Pleiades
Midnight
The hour has gone by
I sleep alone."
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shining and Resplendent Sappho... 3 Oct 2008
By Ryan Kouroukis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
These translations of Sappho are for me the most beautiful I've ever encountered...

Lombardo presents each fragment on its own page, and presents them Thematically (in other words, not in order). He has used ALL of the long and shorter fragments.

In the Introduction he says that he did not want to use every single fragment because some of them are only one word and thus incomprehensible for poetic purposes (which I also agree)...so in total he presents over 90 of the fragments in the most beautiful and ravishing renditions I've ever seen!

These may be Lombardo's most beautiful translations he's done for Hackett Publishing!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The moon has set..." 12 Jun 2004
By Jan Dierckx - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In Antiquity decent women were supposed to work in the kitchen and to raise their children, nothing more, but there were exceptions. More or less 150 years after Homer's Iliad, Sappho lived on the island of Lesbos, west off the coast of what is Turkey today.. (She went in exile for a short period due to political upheavel).
Sappho was already famous in Antiquity. Plato called her the tenth Muze and someone said her poetry was "as refreshing as a morning breeze".
Some of the best poems of Sappho are those that describe her loneliness.
(#62)
"But if you are my friend,
Go to a younger woman's bed,
For I will not endure an affair
In which I am older than the man."
(#73)
"The moon has set,
And the Pleiades
Midnight
The hour has gone by
I sleep alone."
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Priceless 9 Oct 2011
By Joe Hart - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Don't expect whole poems (there's only one) or much coherence (all phrases, fragments, single whole or partial sentences, single words) - but either Sappho or her translator comes across as very smooth and beautiful. I like it very much and am glad I have it. Sappho antedates Keats' dictum not to write confessionals, an injunction which the sheep and poetasters continue still to obey. "Raise high the roofbeam, carpenter" - recognize that? Title of a once well-known short story by Salinger. Was stunned to find it's an exact quote from Sappho. BTW, the analytical/historical preface is as good as the poems.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Poetry of Sappho into English 1 April 2011
By Kohtaro Hayashi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Readers must notice that this Amazon's web has a few incorrect information.
First; The title of this book is "Sappho: Poems & Fragments" and author is Josephine Balmer, not by S.Lombardo. Second; "Editorial Reviews" is shown for the S.Lombardo's Sappho, not for the J.Balmer's Sappho. Third; Three customers reviews (except for mine), these are also for the Lombardo's Sappho. Fourth; In Product Details, "116 pages" is wrong for "117 pages".

When I think of it, it is very strange that there are no reviews from this book, in spite of it had issued in nearly thirty years ago.
I say my conclusion first, that, this book is the best poetry of Sappho into English. (except for the poetries which have an interpretative rendition, such as Bliss Carman's or John M O'Hara's Sappho).

The meaning of The Best is shown into the Concord with Feelings and with Thoughts between this translator and Sappho. Feelings mean the expression of musical-tone-fluency, and Thoughts mean their minds.

Josephine Balmer's every verses are more fluent with beautiful sounds than many other English translators' works. (e.g. by Davenport, Roche, Barnstone, Powell, Carson, or Stacpoole, Petersen, Way, Haines, Hill, Lattimore, and many more, but except Cox).
It is clear that her individuality will appear evidently when someone compares her poems with the others. Her poem #79 (in this book, "Leave Crete and come to me here, to this holy temple,....") will be good example for it.

This musical-tone-fluency is the most important factor for the translating Sappho's poems. (Euphony, for the oral essence). Josephine Balmer did it skillfully with Sappho's own mind=thoughts (which include clarity and strength of her style) through the construction of orderly English sentence which are filled with soft, simple, moving, and elegant words.

Her fluency is natural, never artificial nor affected, moreover, very sincere and moderate. She weaved the English poems without anastrophe which Sappho used.
She has written about the "problems to translation" in this book, and she has conquered their problems almost entirely.
It proves, she is one of the rarest poets.

Among the poems of which I have filed sixty-three different forms of Sappho's "Ode to Aphrodite" in English, Balmer's Aphrodite is exactly outstanding.

Addition: Josephine Balmer's first edition of Sappho was published in 1984 by Brilliance Books. Fortunately, this Balmer's Sappho has been reprinting by several publishers. In 1992, Bloodaxe Books has published its first revised edition. Revised places are as follows. A) Poems: #46, #78, #79. B) Others: 1) Author's commentary for translation. 2) Author's commentary for some poems are added (#79, #108, #109"). 3) Chapter IX was combined with old edition's chapter X. 4) All illustrations were deleted. 5) Select bibliography shows 29 books.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sappho: Poems and Fragments 21 Jan 2011
By Richard Theobald - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Sappho: Poems and Fragments, translated by Stanley Lombardo

Finally I got to read/review some sapphic literature (sorry, but I've been looking forward to making that pun all week)!

Sappho was an ancient Greek poet, who lived sometime between Homer and Socrates. Very little is known about her life, but much is speculated. A plausible theory (to pick one at random from the many) was that she was a headmistress of a school for girls on the island of Lesbos. It is from Sappho's home and her poetry's descriptions of a woman in love with another woman that the word "lesbian" arises (which should explain the pun to anyone who did not get it...).

Unfortunately, we really only have fragments of her poems. They come mostly from other people who mention her poetry quoting bits of it here and there (suggesting that anyone who was anyone would have read her work), and also from bits of "scrap" pottery found in ancient trash-heaps in Egypt. I say "unfortunately", but it may be that the lack of context makes her poetry all the more beautiful!

As for the translator, he happened to be the head of the classics department where I attended college; not only have I met him, but I've also heard him read Latin aloud (a very rare thing in this day and age). For my final project in my final Latin course, I had to write a paper comparing my translation of a section of the Aeneid with that of another translator; I chose Lombardo's version. It turned out to be a bad choice; fundamentally our translations were the same, but his language choices were far more poetic (whereas I chose a literal path), and thus the paper was really difficult to write!

As for this version, I paid $9. Sadly, the book was (by necessity) mostly blank pages; I do not know if it was worth the price. But if I had to choose to purchase any version, I would definitely choose this one.

Memorable Quote:

I do not expect my fingers to graze the sky.

For more reviews like this, please check out my profile!
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