Women Loving Women Wednesday

Avery Reviews –

If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho translated by Anne Carson

Well, it has certainly been a minute or two since I’ve written for my mom’s blog! I was 14 the last time you may have read one of my guest reviews. Now I’m 20 years old, have two years of college under my belt (PoliSci major and WGSS minor here!), and don’t need my mom to do nearly as much proof reading of my reviews. It’s nice to be back! I hope you’ll all enjoy delving into some WLW poetry with me.

It feels appropriate to start with the OG lesbian. It’s truly a crime how long it took for me to finally get my hands on this book. We’re going right back to the roots of where my love for sapphic poetry first started to bloom. When we had a short unit on Sappho in my poetry class this last semester I’m pretty sure that whole class could feel my excitement. I’d read plenty of her fragments before, but it was finally time to add her works to my own bookshelf (thanks Mom!).

If you’ve read any of Anne Carson’s personal works, I think you’d agree she’s a perfect person to be trusted with these translations. It’s unfortunate that so much of Sappho’s work was lost—that we are only left with the fragments. But it is that exact fact that makes Sappho’s poetry so compelling to me. How beautiful it is that all that survived were fragments, and even those small bits of something can make you feel so much. That’s exactly what Sappho does for me. She evokes such clear feeling. Some of my absolute favorites by her are as short as three words long – “You burn me” is stunning all on its own.

To read the words of someone from so very long ago who wrote about Eros (sexual or passionate love) towards women makes my head spin in the very best way. If you haven’t already had the pleasure of delving into her work, I highly recommend it. You’ll fall in love with her use of imagery and the emotion that accompanies it. So, here’s to Sappho! Thank you for laying the groundwork of this small-town lesbian’s journey into reading and writing poetry.

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