May I write words more naked than flesh, stronger than bone, more resilient than sinew, sensitive than nerve.
I am a zealous fan of poetry. I especially admire its unrestricted ability to portray dreams and ideas through words and language that are manipulated entirely by the writer. Sappho is perhaps one of the most influential female poets, and her life is an epic poem of its own; historians and fans are presented with a notable impact, but to truly uncover her personal life, we must read between the lines and use her poems to uncover her identity. Sappho’s raw emotion and descriptive language were unusual in ancient Greek times, especially being authored by a female. From reading a few excerpts of her work, I was drawn even closer to the mysterious figure of Sappho.
Sappho was a Greek poet that originated from the island of Lesbos. She is a literary influence that is relatively untouched by modern society. Sappho is revered for the beauty of her writing style, which presents itself in emotional poems about love written in a lyrical, song-like form. Sappho garnered admiration to the point of earning praise from prominent Greek scholars and cultural revolutionaries. Plato, an ancient Greek philosopher, named her the “tenth muse”. Her poetry remains in the grips of scholars through the form of fragments, as most of her work has been lost, or even burned by the Catholic church in the 1000s due to its promiscuity and expression of love. In spite of Sappho’s archaic, ancient life, her poetry proves to be influential as scholars still speculate over her life today.
Fragments of her Poetry
Sappho and I share a love for language and literature. Sappho utilized her gift for poetry to tell stories, but most importantly, she told stories that were personal and individualistic, in contrast to the glorified stories of epic Greek gods that prevailed over most literature at the time. As gifted learners with a proclivity for language and emotion, we share a passion for human emotions that manifests itself in our behaviour and in our work. Sappho’s poems were songs of the human heart, often about heartbreak and the joys of love. I aspire to emulate Sappho’s authentic expression of herself in her writing. Sappho’s work was the product of her own creativity and bravery. Sappho exemplifies my goals to be fearless in my identity and to use my strengths to create works that contribute to the artistic valour of the society I live in.
There are some key differences that may hinder my ability to fully put myself in the role of Sappho and her life story. I’ll try to focus on the similarities in our personalities and creative struggles during my speech.
||Aristocratic family – valued luxury
The eminence Sappho represents is attributed to both her personal rebellion and the nature of her writing. Sappho was exiled to Sicily for her political views and was heavily scrutizined by following Christian generations, with comedic plays being created about her. Sappho wrote clearly about personal stories and messages addressed to her loved ones, straying away from the epic, ceremonial poetry written by poets such as Homer. Sappho’s innovative style is now adapted as the Sapphic stanza, a stanza that follows a specific meter similar to Sappho’s in her own writing. She lived as a free spirit, reflective in the cries of her poetry.
Scholars and academics are still trying to uncover many details about Sappho’s life nearly 3,000 years later after her death. Our pursuit of knowledge concerning Sappho proves that she has left a clear mark in our universe and the world of creative expression.
Sappho lived in a time in which women in city-states had little to no rights. There were severe restrictions on women’s laws; they were unable to conduct business or sustain their own lives. Educational facilities were separated by gender to tailor schools to the specific gender’s needs. Sappho transcended all expectations by employing her own academic talent and was eventually praised by all members of Greek society, even being featured on paintings, coins, and art.
Sappho is worth studying because she remains a literary influence and an icon in the field of humanities – yet when I asked my peers and parents about her, nearly no one knew who she was. Sappho’s fragmented life and impeccable poetry can teach us how to express ourselves fully and passionately, through words and language that resonate the most with our individualistic desires.
For the next part of my eminent study, I hope to grow more comfortable with reading her poetry and writing. I’ll start to look into poetry foundations or journalists that have written pieces on her, and I’ll try to contact them for an interview.
Someone will remember us, I say; even in another time.