Sappho was born between 610 and 620 B.C.E. on the Greek island of Lesbos. The details of her life are widely contested. From an aristocratic family, she was taught to play the lyre as a child and composed both music and verse. Her poems were first collected around the third century B.C., but today, her work survives mostly in fragments. Sappho’s poetry is known for its lyricism and its focus on (frequently same-sex) romantic love and relationships. Historians believe she died of old age around 570 B.C.E.
Sappho, excerpt from Fragment 47, translated by Diane Rayor from Ancient Greek, from Sappho: A New Translation of the Complete Works (Cambridge University Press, 2014). Reprinted by permission.
The Poetry Path is made possible through a partnership with Battery Park City Authority, partners in design and fabrication of the Poetry Path, with additional support from our Outreach Partner, Goldman Sachs. Special thanks to the Arthur F. and Alice E. Adams Foundation for funding the Poetry Path planning process, and to the Marcia Brady Tucker Foundation for supporting Poetry Path educational initiatives for youth and children.