Three Sapphics

2012-04-15

Five years ago I posted about an idea I had to publish a book of poems in Sapphic meter (my favorite poetic form). Today I published three such poems at The Monadnock Press: Come, Let Us Sound With Melody by Thomas Campion (1601), Lines Written During A Period Of Insanity by William Cowper (ca. 1773), and Sapphics by Algernon Charles Swinburne (1904). These supplement three odes by Horace that I translated years ago (The Muses' Friend, It's Better to Live, and This Aegean Storm), as well as Deathless Aphrodite on Your Lavish Throne by Sappho herself (a translation with which I'm still not completely happy). I need to look into translating a few poems by Sappho's contemporary Alkaios and also perhaps Horace (right now I can't recall if he wrote any other poems in Sapphic meter). Furthermore, it seems that various Germanic poets made good use of Sapphic meter (Klopstock, Platen, Hamerling, Geibel, etc.), but my German is somewhat rusty so I might seek out existing English translations of their poems. Although the form has been explored by some living poets, too (including my favorite: Timothy Steele), I won't contact any of those writers until I finish collecting all the Sapphics that are in the public domain.


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