Sappho’s Timeless Elegy for Heartbreak at the End of Love, Reimagined in a Haunting Choral Invocation

Sappho plate from artist Judy Chicagos The Dinner Party, 1979. Civilizations and epochs later on, Sapphos lyric website into this elemental measurement of the human heart comes recently alive in a haunting choral invocation by Constellation Chor– New York Citys vocally and culturally kaleidoscopic singing ensemble, established by the visionary acoustic architect Marisa Michelson, who composed the piece and performed it with ensemble members Jen Anaya, Kalli Siamidou, and Tamrin Goldberg.

Celebrated as the Tenth Muse, Sappho (c. 630– c. 570 BC) endures as the very first terrific beacon of femaless right to creative expression and of the standard human right to love whomever one enjoys– the initial champ of what we, 2 and a half centuries later on, have the hard-earned high-end of calling LGBT rights, for unlike Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson twenty-some centuries after her, Sappho did not modify the gender pronouns of her poems to conceal the same-sex nature of her enjoys– so much so that her native island of Lesbos has woven itself into the etymology of same-sex love in the modern-day worlds dominant languages.

A sole voice increases from antiquity, cuts through the long silencing and erasure of women, cuts through the Ancient Greek tradition of brave poetry about war and worldly valor, to sing to us in her emotional authoritative voice a new type of poetry– the personal, consummately intimate poetry of the inner world, the poetry of enthusiastic love and heartbreak, of yearning and loss, of the rapture of the natural world– a perceptiveness that would concern color everything from the cosmogony of the Romantics to pop music.

Sappho plate from artist Judy Chicagos The Dinner Party, 1979. In among her most incredible poems, Sappho conjures up with intimate particularity one of the most universal human experiences: heartbreak at the end of love– that singularly discomposing maelstrom which, in the words of the modern poet and thinker David Whyte, “begins the moment we are asked to let go however can not [and] inhabits and colors and magnifies each and every day,” and which modern-day science has shown to share a neuropsychology with drug withdrawal. Epochs and civilizations later, Sapphos lyric portal into this elemental measurement of the human heart comes freshly alive in a haunting choral invocation by Constellation Chor– New York Citys vocally and culturally kaleidoscopic singing ensemble, established by the visionary aural architect Marisa Michelson, who composed the piece and performed it with ensemble members Jen Anaya, Kalli Siamidou, and Tamrin Goldberg.

Sappho tile, Victoria & & Albert Museum. (Photograph: Mark Morgan CCBY) And yet she concerns us just as a faint echo across the whispering gallery of time, erasure, and cumulative memory– the nine-volume set of her total works burned with the Library of Alexandria; it is rumored that the early Christian dogmatists of the Byzantine empire burned the majority of her remaining works as too scandalous for so openly commemorating same-sex love. However the tiny subset of elegance that does survive– no place more splendidly than in poet Anne Carsons enchanting translation, If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho (town library)– has actually radiated an aura of genius so immense that it has moved more than one hundred generations and influenced such diverse titans of idea and creative vision as Mary Wollstonecraft, Oscar Wilde, Allen Ginsburg, and Judy Chicago.

I merely wish to be dead.Weeping she left me
with many tears and said this: Oh how severely things have turned out for us.Sappho, I swear, against my will I leave you.
And I addressed her: Rejoice, go andremember me. For you understand how we cherished you.
Bit if not, I wantto remind you] and gorgeous times we had.
For numerous crowns of violetsand roses] at my side you place on
and lots of woven garlandsmade of flowersaround your soft throat.
And with sweet oilcostlyyou blessed yourself
and on a soft beddelicateyou would let lose your yearning
and neither any [] nor anyholy place norwas there from which we were missing
Complement with Epictetus, writing 7 centuries later on, on the Stoic strategy for making it through heartbreak, Rebecca Wests remarkable love letter to H.G. Wells in the wake of their romantic collapse, and the story of how Hans Christian Andersen turned his heartbreak into one of the most cherished fairy tales of perpetuity, then revisit James Baldwins abiding wisdom on love, reimagined in music.

(Photograph: Mark Morgan CCBY) And yet she comes to us just as a faint echo across the whispering gallery of time, erasure, and cumulative memory– the nine-volume set of her total works burned with the Library of Alexandria; it is rumored that the early Christian dogmatists of the Byzantine empire burned many of her staying works as too scandalous for so freely commemorating same-sex love. The tiny subset of elegance that does make it through– nowhere more splendidly than in poet Anne Carsons captivating translation, If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho (public library)– has actually radiated an aura of genius so tremendous that it has actually moved more than one hundred generations and affected such diverse titans of idea and artistic vision as Mary Wollstonecraft, Oscar Wilde, Allen Ginsburg, and Judy Chicago.