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If Not, Winter: Fragments Of Sappho

Anne Carson

4 Reviews

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Prose: non-fiction, Literary studies: poetry & poets

* The definitive and ONLY complete translation of Sappho, by one of the world's greatest living poets

From the critically acclaimed poet and classicist Anne Carson: a brilliant new translation of the work of Sappho, together with the original Greek.

During her life on the island of Lesbos, Sappho is said to have composed nine books of lyrics. Only one poem has survived complete. In IF NOT, WINTER, Carson presents all the extant fragments of Sappho's verse, employing brackets and white space to denote missing text - allowing the reader to imagine the poems as they were written.

Carson says of her method of translation: 'I like to think that, the more I stand out of the way, the more Sappho shows through.' And certainly her translation illuminates Sappho's reflections on love and desire, her companions and rivals, the goddess Aphrodite, her own daughter, Kleis. IF NOT, WINTER gives us an extraordinary ancient poet brought alive by a brilliantly empathetic contemporary poet. Complete with Carson's introduction and notes, it will become the standard translation of Sappho for our time.

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Praise for If Not, Winter: Fragments Of Sappho

  • a superb version...these new poems, made by Carson out of Sappho, are subtle, beautiful, precise, moving. - Margaret Reynolds, THE TIMES

  • This collection of her [Sappho's] fragments gives you everything, for the first time... - INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

  • The beautiful blur of Sappho's work, the rhythms, the ornate grammar, the singing sounds she teases out of rare words...are impossible to match. - DAILY TELEGRAPH

  • Imaginatively presented and superbly prefaced, this collection is both heartrending and uplifiting. - INDEPENDENT

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