Stung with love: poems and fragments by Sappho
Paperback. Penguin. 2009. New Condition.
By turns subversive, erotic and poignant, Sappho is one of the most versatile and exquisite poets in Classical literature. Invoking female deities, Sappho summons the Muses for inspiration and beseeches Aphrodite’s allegiance in a battle of the heart, while episodes from the Trojan War are told from a woman’s perspective as Helen makes her fateful choice between family and love, and Andromache arrives in Troy to marry Hector. Here, too, Sappho sings of the lives of mortals, as a lover describes the torments of unrequited lust, a mother speaks tenderly to her daughter, and young brides leave their homes to meet their new husbands. Ranging from Homeric narratives to depictions of intense personal experience, the songs of Sappho are elegant, subtle evocations of love and passion.