More or less 150 years after Homer’s Iliad, Sappho lived on the island of Lesbos, west off the coast of what is present Turkey. Little remains today of her writings, which are said to have filled nine papyrus rolls in the great library at Alexandria some 500 years after her death. The surviving texts consist of a lamentably small and fragmented body of lyric poetry—among them poems of invocation, desire, spite, celebration, resignation and remembrance—that nevertheless enables us to hear the living voice of the poet Plato called the tenth Muse. This is a new translation of her surviving poetry.
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