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4.3 out of 5 stars
12
4.3 out of 5 stars


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on 30 March 2017
Excellent poetry! Timeless..
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I was intoruduced to Sappho whilst I was at university, during my English studies. This first introduction was only of one particular fragment, but it had me captivated and I longed to go off and try and find more of this poetess. My search then led me to Bliss Carman's translation / interpretations and I was delighted. I was able to find the fragment that I had first discovered in the lecture room, but I also discovered that other fragments were equally as good.

From the little I know about Sappho, this collection does a superb job at conveying the overall tone of her work. Love is the ever present theme here, with all of its manifestations making an appearance - jealousy, desire, passion that verges on obsession and longing. Nature is made use of to create imagery and metaphor to an exquisite standard. Greek gods and goddesses are also incorporated into some of the fragments, adding more depth to the words. What I especially love about this collection is how spirituality an religion is also drawn upon to illustrate the power of the feelings being described. One does this fabulously:-

"Heart of mine, if all the altars
Of all the ages stood before me,
Not one pure enough nor sacred
Could I find to lay this white, white
Rose of love upon.

I who am not great enough to
Love thee with this mortal body
So impassionate with ardour,
But oh, not too small to worship
While the sun shall shine,-

I would build a fragrant temple
To thee, in the dark green forest,
Of red cedar and fine sandal,
And there love thee with sweet service
All my whole life long. . ." (No.xxx11, p.40-41)

The idea of her love being too pure, too spiritual to have any altar in all of the ages speaks volumes. Instead, nature is turned to as the place where she feels that she would be able to celebrate and honour her feelings for her lover. It is truly a beautiful piece, and one of my favourites out of all the poetry anthologies I have.

Carman has done a wonderful job here. Although I cannot comment on the particular edition listed on Amazon (my edition was published in 1921 by Chatto & Windus), what matters is the poetry itself. As an introduction to the work of Sappho, you could not do better.
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on 20 September 2012
I am a big fan of the few small snippets of Sappho's works that I have been introduced to over the years. It was lovely to read a much larger section of her prose. I loved this book a lot!
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on 3 December 2012
A beautiful introduction to thus classic poet, you can dip in and out as when. The footnotes are pretty good and can't believe this is completely free! Love it and read it all the time.
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on 1 June 2015
my 1st read of Sappho... so not sure how well it has been translated etc in this version... but the poems flow and its difficult to put the kindle down read almost all of book in first sitting.. ... will definitely be looking for more info on this lady. Great to have this as a free starter.
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on 25 December 2015
Certainly a useful amalgamation of the poets works. Has proven useful and reliable in my studies of Greek literature as a whole.
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on 26 March 2016
So glad to have a copy of this classic book of poems. I needed to recite one in a pagan rituals and I found just what I needed.
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on 18 August 2013
Thanks to Bliss Carman, who surely had the mind of a poet herself, we can enjoy the astonishingly beautiful poetry of Sappho.
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on 4 December 2016
Numbers aren't written in letters. Looks like it was thrown together over a weekend
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on 21 May 2016
A Sappho quotation made me want more. Her poetry is breathtaking.
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