An abandoned town named for the classical lesbian leads to questions about history and settlement.
Driving along the Pacific Coast Highway, you come to a road sign: Entering Sappho. Nothing remains of the town, just trash at the side of the highway and thick, wet bush. Can Sappho’s breathless eroticism tell us anything about settlement—about why we’re here in front of this sign? Mixing historical documents, oral histories, and experimental translations of the original lesbian poet’s works, this book combines documentary and speculation, surveying a century in reverse. This town is one of many with a classical name. Take it as a symbol: perhaps in a place that no longer exists, another kind of future might be possible.