Searching for Sappho: The Lost Songs and World of the First Woman Poet

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Imagine the task of assembling poems of someone who lived over two thousand years ago in ancient Greece. While more recent than Homer by one hundred years, Sappho’s poems are only fragments on strips of damaged papyrus which are still being discovered. Unlike Homer, she does not sing of war, but of family, weddings and her child. Some are only words long. The words are beautiful. This book tries to piece together that life that Sappho lived and the poems she wrote. In order to flush out a full book, the author fills in details of life as it would have been perhaps for Sappho at that time. Many of these details are astonishing.

Sappho lived on the island of Lesbos during a politically charged time. When her leaders fell out of favor, Sappho was exiled to Sicily. One of her saddest poems is not being able to provide her daughter with a headband.

For those of us in search of a woman’s voice in poetry, this is a good volume to find. One would hope that more fragments can be found to piece together these extraordinary poems.


Reviewed By:

Author Philip Freeman
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 306 pages
Publisher W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date 2016-Feb-15
ISBN 9780393242232
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue June 2016
Category Poetry & Short Stories
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