Lesbos Poet

The Guardian reviews several books about Sapho.

For Carson [Anne Carson, who translated some of Sappho’s work], what matters is Sappho’s poetry, not her gender or her sexual orientation. But Sappho’s words themselves are not gender-neutral. Carson’s translation of Fragment 31 does not make clear what is clear in the Greek: the beloved and the first-person speaker are both female. “It seems that she knew and loved women as deeply as she did music,” Carson remarks in her introduction. “Can we leave the matter there?”
The answer, obviously, is no. Sappho is the first surviving female author in the Western tradition, and most of the critical and imaginative responses to her life and work have treated her gender and sexuality as the most important facts about her.