Sappho, the earliest and most famous Greek woman poet, who sang her songs around 600 BCE on th the island of Lesbos, has probably had more words written about her in proportion to her own surviving output, than any other writer. Recently, a new publication,   Sappho: A New Translation of the Complete Works, puts forward a complete, up-to-date collection of all Sappho’s poems, translated from the ancient Greek by acclaimed classical scholar, Diane Rayor, a professor at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. André Lardinois signs the introduction.

As the New York Review of Books notes, on top of teaching us what love feels like, Sappho is the first female poet and learned woman known to antiquity and to the Western literary tradition. She has been called “the tenth Muse” by Plato and was the only woman whom ancient scholars included in the canon of significant lyric poets. Her life and loves have inspired plays, operas, and novels. Furthermore, when a self-conscious lesbian literary culture emerged thanks to Baudelaire’s poem Lesbos in Les Fleurs du Mal (1857), Sappho was crowned as the first explicit poet of female homoerotic love.