Sappho: A New Translation

Sappho: A New Translation

by Mary Barnard
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Curator’s note

Sappho was the OG lesbian icon: her poems were lauded by her peers and modern historians, and were said to contain hints of affection towards women. In fact, she became so iconic that sapphic (derived from her name) and lesbian (derived from her birthplace, the Greek island of Lesbos) became synonymous with attraction between women. Now that's a legacy to be proud of. 

This book was donated by a lovely supporter of the library!


These hundred poems and fragments constitute virtually all of Sappho that survives and effectively bring to life the woman whom the Greeks consider to be their greatest lyric poet. Mary Barnard's translations are lean, incisive, direct--the best ever published. She has rendered the beloved poet's verses, long the bane of translators, more authentically than anyone else in English.

About the author

Mary Barnard was a prominent American poet, translator, and biographer with many books in her repertoire. She studied Greek at Reed College and began to translate at Ezra Pound's suggestion in the 1930s. Her Assault on Mount Helicon: A Literary Memoir was published by the University of California Press in 1984. Two years later she received the Western States Book Award for her book-length poem, Time and the White Tigress. She also published prose fiction and a volume of essays on mythology as well as the original lyrics gathered in Collected Poems.

About The Unicorn Library

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