Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Soppho Response

Soppho Fragment 31 Response

This fragment from Soppho is one of many that stood out, but I feel as though it’s the one I could relate and understand a little better than others. From what I understand, Soppho is describing an intimate conversation between a man and a woman and some of the side effects that can come from falling in love with someone so quickly. The way Soppho writes in this poem can relate to a majority of students here at this school when they are sitting at their desk at night, writing papers for classes that they feel “aren’t necessary for their practice”. Something that is so often talked about on breaks or on the weekends. An overwhelming feeling of emotion, stress, confidence, lust, and fatigue that comes with falling in love, or in a Liberal Arts student’s case, a thesis.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Class This Week Is Cancelled

A medical emergency has cancelled our class together this week. When we return from Spring Break I will attempt to cover some of the material we are missing but I don't want us to get behind so proceed with the syllabus in the usual way. When I last checked some of you had not yet handed in your mid-term papers. Send them to me as e-mail .docx attachments as soon as possible. Once I feel up to it I will be grading them all. Believe me when I tell you that I would not miss our class together for light reasons. I hope you all have a good break and catch up -- and we will get back together in a couple of weeks.

Friday, March 4, 2016

An Army of Lover Will Never Fail

Mid-Term Papers.....................................?

Some of you missed the last class and so failed to hand iin your mid-term papers. If you plan to rectify this,now is the time. Please e-mail me ASAP. Why wait till next week? I'm grading papers already, so do please add yours to my stack. Thanks.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Reminder! For This Week!

ONE: Choose a text from our assigned readings that you think you want to write your 4-5pp. paper on, any text up to Plato's "Symposium" (which we'll be discussing next week). If you choose to write about Sappho poems, you have to write about poems you didn't discuss in your first assignment.
TWO: Read and understand the short Four Habits of Argumentative Writing handout.
THREE: Do NOT miss this class and arrive ON TIME. The work we do this Wednesday is compulsory and cannot be done on your own or made up.

See you all soon. Hope you had good weekends. Read ahead to the Symposium if you think you might want to write about a different text than the ones we've talked about together so far.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

10  Sweet Apple (105a, 105c, B93,B94)
I greatly appreciate sappho’s song Sweet Apple. This short melody signifies to me the struggle to break the mold of social norms or expectations of society as a woman. The line “You’re just like the sweet apple” gives me the reader a wonderful sense of beauty and yearning for that apple which is unreachable. Most people I believe have had a feeling such as wanting something in life but cannot have. I can recall times when I could see that apple ever so slightly out of my reach, and yet I reached for it only to be disappointed by coming up short by a few meager inches. Sappho is able to stimulate the manifestations of our desire and a sense of wholeness. While this Apple ripens and becomes mature it realizes its beauty and greatness such as a strong independent woman. This notion, for a woman to be to be unattainable to picker is wonderful. The strength and position and the clarity in this short song brings forward  the greatness of a strong Woman and the power she possesses. “They did not miss you!”   The pickers only gawked at ripeness of her beauty. This Apple is not a Rebel of the orchard whom looks down at the picker. This apple just has not conformed to being plucked ever so easily by the hands of the greedy/Society. I greatly respect this short piece for the emotions it evoked in me.  I  feel Sappho’s clarity and ability to transmit feelings of desire and love in such eloquence.
26 Wealth (249, 80B, 92D)
"Wealth without virtue is not an innocent neighbour
But, mix them together and you have the very best of fortunes!”
I am extremely interested in this text and how it plays such a crucial roll in life. Wealth can be a good or bad thing. “Wealth without virtue is not an innocent neighbor” attaining wealth through a means of war or destruction will bring no good on the doer of that act. Unfortunately I feel that times have not changed all that much in relation to having a Neighbor in whom you trust gained a level of wealth honestly. A person or Country who attains a level of prosperity through a high moral standard stands is on a solid ground. You can’t expect that gaining wealth through vile acts to be respected. In regards attaining wealth through a practice of high moral rectitude I will agree you will have fortuity.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Posted for Marco Castaneda


            When I initially started looking at poems by the late Sappho, I was a bit put off by the first few poems I read. The first few poems I came upon seemed to be glorifications of her male/godly crushes, like a school-girl who fantasizes about having her first kiss.  The poems seemed to counter what I thought the class was about, so I kept looking.  I came upon a poem called “Before They Were Mothers,” and it stuck with me.
The poem is a short, four-lined prose that is loaded with tales of strife and violence. The poem reads as, “Before they were mothers, Leto and Niobe, had been the most, devoted of friends.” At first glance, the poem pokes at my inquisitive nature, and presses me to ask more questions about the context of the poem. Who were Leto and Niobe? Were they lovers? Why would having children strain their relationship? I then thought of the more innocent scenarios as to why they would suddenly terminate their friendship. I thought of gender norms and expectations placed on mothers. Maybe they could no longer go out for drinks because their kids had sports to be at. Were they soccer moms who no longer had time for kinship due to the expectation that as mothers, their kids’ lives and activities are more important than their own happiness and need for social interaction? I had too many questions to not study more on the subject, so I worked the Google machine and dug deeper.
I researched more on the relationship between Niobe and Leto, and found some interesting drama between the two. Niobe was the princess of Tantalus, who was best-friends with the goddess Leto. One day, Niobe was bragging about the number of children she had, 14, and how great and perfect they were to Leto. Leto, having only two children, Artemis and Apollo, became very jealous that Niobe had both more and wonderful children. It is a little strange that gods and humans could be so close as to get jealous of one another, especially because a god is a GOD, who has magical powers and doesn’t have to suffer mortality, but alas, that is the scenario. Leto has her children, Artemis and Apollo, kill Niobe’s sons and daughters. Niobe, grief-stricken, runs back to her mountain and turns into stone.  The story is honestly, extremely dramatic and the cause of the violence is downright petty. I was quite annoyed at how petty the story was because it truly seemed like a bad episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Posted for Ruth McCrary

Sappho Response

I will admit that my mental approach to this assignment was to just “get it
over with” so to speak, but I was actually moved by one of the poems I found.
The poem is called On What Is Best, and is, not too surprisingly, a love poem.
However, the part that moved me personally is what the poem is saying about
love; that it is the “best” thing. The poem begins with mentioning other aspects in
life, from the time period, that are thought of as great or glorious such as knights
and ships battling at sea. It then goes on to express that while these experiences
or events are valued by some, the speaker of the poem does not value them.
The speaker refers to these instead as military spenders that should not be
thought of as something loved above all else. An interesting aspect about this
moment in the poem is how the speaker seems to be addressing the reader as if
to say that we should also not value these military experiences above all else.
The speaker then begins to talk about Helen and how her beauty was unmatched
as was her life with her royal husband and child. However she left this life to take
the “a strangers hand” because of love. The speaker then goes on to say what I
believe to be the theme or lesson of the poem which is “love then is the power
that none can disobey”. I will admit that using an example of the supposedly most
beautiful women of all time leaving royalty to be with a stranger solely for love is
a pretty good way to make that argument. This is all lovely then, very nice
statement about love indeed, but then I began to wonder why the speaker was
talking about this, and I got my answer in the last bit of the poem. “So too my
thoughts must follow my darling far away”, thats it then, the speaker is longing for
their own love that is, of course, out of reach. This also explains why the speaker
chose to use Helen as the example. Unfortunately at this point the poem began
to make me feel a bit un-optimistic because the speaker did not say they would
travel to find their darling. Instead the speaker talks about their thoughts following
their love. This is a shame but it does put a more realistic essence in the poem,
which I suppose may have been a little too cheesy without it. Anyway this hint of
realism still does not take away from the statement of the poem, which the
speaker states one last time. “The sparkle of her laughter would give me greater
joy than all the bronze-clad heroes”, to be perfectly honest this is not my favorite
poem of all time, but as someone who strongly agrees that love is the most
important and powerful experience, I value this poem.

Posted for Yuxin Zhou

Her poems seems to the beginning of feminism. In And as for me (Edm.118a), she admired the beauty and nature, for her, materials items were not luxury but the nature, and she treated herself as one of the beautiful things. 
But I sleep Alone (Edm. 62), this poem has a potential for feminism. In ancient Greek, female usually get married at a very young age, and they usually have husband and kids around them by the age of 15. But for Sappho, she suggested independence in this poem.   
In the poem Ode to Aphrodite (Edm. 1, 191 IB. et D), she wrote a very direct description of her sexuality that suggested a lesbian desire. Sappho called Aphrodite to help her get the attention of another woman. She made it unclear that the person she desired was Aphrodite. Sappho was the first recognized lesbian poet, and she was the first poet who described personal love and the heart break of love. That is a brave thing to do in ancient Greek, especially as a woman.  
She also made the same suggestion in A company of soldiers (27aD, 195P). Ancient Greek was a patriarchal society, solders were the symbol of honor. But for Sappho she would rather be in the presence of the woman she loved than in presence of soldiers. All of these poems show her admires towards female and female energy. 
Many of her poems were very simple and direct, and open to a interpretation. Such as Honey or Bee (146)The sky (209, 37B, 47D), and Wealth (249, 80B, 92D). These poems were describing the daily life details, she shows her sensitivity as a woman. In The sky (209, 37B, 47D), there only has one sentence but it could be understand in many different ways. She said her hands could never touch the sky. It could be interpreted as Sappho was a prisoner of her body. Her body was limited but her soul was free. It could also be interpreted as a resist to patriarchal.

News Items


Wanted to be sure everybody saw that I switched a couple of readings on the syllabus. The piece by Gorgias was already there and that is still the key reading for Tuesday. But I moved a short piece called the Melian Dialogue up into our class this Tuesday as well. I had a feeling our discussion of the play in the next week's meeting might have gotten in the way of our giving that piece the attention it deserves so we'll do it this week instead. It's short.


Not everybody has handed in last week's assignment yet. Why is that? A couple of you came late to the class, but none of you can get behind, so get on it NOW. Anybody who still hasn't done this work by the time we meet Tuesday risks getting kicked out of the class. Do not get behind, please. If you have questions, ask them. If you can't post the material, send it to me and I'll post it for you. These assignments aren't optional. Do I need to repeat that? Not. Optional.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Sappho Poetry Reading Response

In the beginning stanza of Sappho’s poem, It Seems to me, Sappho begins mid-scenario speaking of two people she is watching. After my first read through, I got the impression Sappho was speaking of two people, one man and the other a woman. Sappho commonly writes poetry about or relating to lesbians, Sapphic poetry, and the woman seems to be the object of Sappho’s affection within the poem. Sappho first refers to the way in which the woman “seems” to feel about the man she is with as “equal to the gods,” relating her look as one of devotion and adoration. She then describes that the man this woman adores, “sits within the scope of [her] sweet voice and of [her] laughter which stirs the heart within my breast.” From this first stanza it is made clear the woman Sappho is watching is an object of Sappho’s affection. Even before the definitive line “which stirs the heart within my breast,” there are references to Sappho having some sort of affection towards the woman. The language Sappho uses such as “sweet” to describe the woman’s voice generates a sensual tone of taste or smell to her speech. Her laughter being mentioned also symbolizes an importance of sound and queues the audience of the poem to it being something specific for Sappho about this woman.
The next stanza reveals more of a distance between Sappho and this other woman, “Seeing you like this, even for a second, stops the sighs within me.” The translation punctuations create a pause as written text giving emphasis to these lines. Sappho seeing this woman pauses her pain. However in the next stanza she begins with “Yet,” turning her emotions and following with, “my tongue freezes and beneath my skin a fire rages and… my eyes are empty but my ears are full.” She no longer is lovingly descriptive but instead describe a heat of rage coming over her. A feeling she describes as a “torrent of sweat and wild tremor”.

She ends the poem with a shorter stanza, “I’ve turned the colour of drying grass just before death,” creating imagery of passing and fading. The transition of grass becoming lifeless mirrors her transitions of emotions. She is jealous of the man receiving the affections of the person who “stirs the heart within [her] breast” and describes the fleeting moment of love for someone as she also is filled with a burning rage of jealousy. I take her final lines as her comparison of death as a metaphor for her heartbreak in this seeming moment.