Sappho’s Muse

Aloof

Muse awoke

You promised me a poem

I faltered…no time-

Then read your Sappho! she whirled

Leave your fragments, crumbs to Air!

Tanka. ©Tara Linda

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I’m enjoying this awesome new book~ Searching for Sappho by Philip Freeman. I like it because in addition to offering her poems, it presents her fragments within a cultural construct; what could have been happening in and around Sappho on Lesbos and elsewhere in the region, notably Sparta and Athens, as she was living and writing? What could have influenced and inspired her? What were the marriage ceremonies that she wrote so much about? What is a possible cultural basis of the last Sappho poem found- as evidenced by other neighboring Greek writers, existing histories (that were not burned), and the writers who came later quoting Sappho in their poetry courses and writings in ways more complete than her found fragments show. What is news to me is that while she had her detractors, yes, there were more who respected her- masters, Aristotle among them- who held her poems, songs, and words as a supreme example of a highly skilled poet who equaled and surpassed the writers of her day, in voice, complex Greek forms and technique, as well as output.  This book is a fast read; highly recommended. Even if your Muses spurn you for not wanting to put it down to write for them. 😉

sappho

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