Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ramblings about Sappho.

Sappho is one of my favorite poets. About all that's known for sure about her is that she lived in Greece, and had quite a reputation even in her own day and age...which without the internet to spread the word about new great poets, is really saying something. She was famous in her own day and age, and her poetry is still alive today. And, forgive me if this is blasphemy, but I for one prefer her poetry over Shakespeare's.

Of course, one problem with reading her poetry is that she wrote it in Greek. Not a lot of people read Greek these days. So unless we want to learn a whole new language, we have to read translated versions of her poems.

Ah, the joys of translated literature! There will always be subtleties in the original language that you can't quite portray in translation. Furthermore, translations can differ depending on how the different translators interpret this word or that word, or even how they interpret the entire poem.

Anyways...

I mention this because I picked up three books of Sappho's poetry today. I've already read one of them, and am getting a little over excited over Sappho's poems. I'm remembering why she's one of my two top favorite poets.

Who's your favorite poet? Can you read his/her poetry in its original language, or do you have to read a translation?

3 comments:

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I'm partial to Sappho too. But generally speaking, I like to read English-language poetry so that a translator doesn't have to get between me and my comprehension (and therefore, experience, of the poems). I enjoy many poets, including T.S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Mary Oliver, William Blake, etc.

Sarita Rucker said...

Yeah, the language barrier is a definite problem when it comes to reading Sappho's poems.

Sarita Rucker said...

...but maybe the language barrier is part of why I'm so fascinated with her poetry...

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