Sappho’s Raft (Le rideau de la Mytilénienne) by Thomas Meyer
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East Haven. The Jargon Society. 1982. First Edition. Softcover with art paper jacket. Book Condition: Fine. Jacket Condition: Fine. 50pp. (ill. in colour).
Frontispiece: David Hockney, un souvenir de visite (Tom listening to Ravel’s l’Enfant et les sortilèges), Corn Close, Summer 1980.
Parts of this book have been previously published as Beautiful Rivers by Tansy Press (Lawrence, Kansas); May by the Finial Press (Champaign, Illinois).
‘LZ / Aux Champs Elysées’ was published as Jargon 51 in memory of Louis Zukofksy.
Meyer’s “Sappho’s wrap” is as mythic and precise as its elusive subject, the poet Sappho and her fragments of poetry that has inspired poets and translators working in both traditional and experimental modes. For Meyer, Sappho has always represented “an upheaval, the ache of indifference, the ecstasy of embroilment [...] [the] private drift of associations” through which an ancient human vulnerability survives. On the page, his words emerge in forms at once open and contained by some unconscious, inevitable design, the stanzas like movable parts. As the poems formally suggest further possible combinations, their focus on the interminable world of landscapes, mythologies, and their interpretations makes every human streak of meaning all the more consequential to the poet who writes, “If only all I’d say would not reverberate,” all the while responding to the echo of another ancient, surviving sound.
Text in French.