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WIND—MOUNTAIN—OAK: THE POEMS OF SAPPHO
by Dan Beachy-Quick

“There are depths within the denotative life of Greek words that English seldom allows readers in translation to access. At some basic level, I wanted to offer a translation that traced out some of those complexities into an apprehendable substance in the poems themselves—sometimes by allowing an image to unfold more fully than is the norm, at other times by giving some sense of a word’s complicated life, the compound nature of the Greek language, or by translating the same line in multiple ways. The hope, far-fetched as it might be, is to give a reader in English some semblance of how an ancient Greek listener might hear these songs. I’ve also veered away from the various traditions of ordering the poems. I’ve clustered them into groups that seem to loosely trace the entirety of life, from childhood to older age, from the birth of desire to the fear of no longer being desirable. In a quiet way, I mean the book to read as a kind novel, a bildungsroman, so that a larger sense of the life—the poem of the life—becomes palpable. “

—Dan Beachy-Quick

 

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