The Gay & Lesbian Review: “Sappho Transfigured”, by Rosemary Booth

“IT SEEMS everyone’s boarding the Sappho boat these days, eager to travel with the ancient poet and tell the world who she was. One person well qualified to be Sappho’s herald and interpreter is singer, songwriter, and musician Jeri Hilderley, who pays homage to the poet with a stirring new CD, Time Traveling with Sappho. Hilderley co-produced the album with bassist Janet Mayes, who is also her life partner, and with the help of sound engineer Bruce MacPherson.”


“The CD is thus an amalgamation of two recordings by the same artist separated by some 35 years, and the effect is mesmerizing. ” Read more

“I played it at night, and so the way it was born out that stillness of the night – the way it was born out of silence, seamlessly came into sound, gave birth to sound and then went seamlessly back to the silence that became richer because of the music that had existed there. Oh my God, the book, the music, exquisite, exquisite. The book is fantastic. Where on earth did you get all that material? I am so impressed, amazed, my jaw has dropped all the way down to Tasmania. Oh God it is so beautiful. The two of you, just to think of you making music together. It reminded me also of some Indian texts and prayers from the same time as Sappho.
–Padma Hejmadi, author of novels, short stories and non-fiction. Her works include Room to Fly: A Transcultural Memoir, Birthday Deathday & Other Stories, and The Challenge of Indian Fiction in English. Her time has been mainly spent between India, the U.S, and Moku O Keawe, or the Big Island of Hawaii.

“One gorgeous, beautiful piece of music. Your voice at 77, as you’ve acknowledged in your notes, is more beautiful than ever. We’ve long had the cassette that has the song, “Does Anybody in this Town Like Dancing?” But your voice has grown with an enormous resonance, a voice of a person who has profoundly experienced love, lost love, gained love and it’s all there in the music, and we find it extraordinary. You’ve done a great service to Gus and Gus’ translations, but you’ve done a great service to yourself. If the world has any sense, which it often doesn’t, the meaning of this piece of work will be acknowledged. We were profoundly moved by it. We love the arrangements, the performance, all the instruments, but particularly your voice. It is so resonant with a knowledge of love that it could only fail to move a stone-hearted idiot. What a beautiful thing. May it have a long life, the CD and the music.”
–Eric Lindbloom & Nancy Willard. Photographer Lindbloom is a founding member of Center for Photography in Woodstock. He has published four books of his photographs, including Salt Grass and Angels at the Arno; his work is in worldwide collections and libraries. Nancy Willard, was Professor and Lecturer at Vassar College for five decades. Her novels include Sister Water; her books of poetry include A Visit to William Blake’s Inn and The Sea at Truro.

“It is so beautiful listening to you. It’s like it was yesterday. It’s ultra beautiful. Thank you again, and again and again. It keeps Gus with us.”
–Sophia Lardas, widow of the translator, Konstantinos Lardas


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From a Review in Sinister Wisdom (A Multicultural Lesbian Literary & Art Journal), pp. 111-113, vol. 90, Fall, 2013:

Cast with a feminist perspective, with rollicking lesbian sex scenes and multilateral committed relationships, Rose’ novel is nevertheless a classic drama of good racing to outwit evil. It is a tale that pauses on the last page, but, true to our compromised souls, does not end. Rose draws on her years of psycho-therapeutic practice to create complex and engaging main characters, along with sound astronomy and speculative physics.
Jane Curzon, author and arts critic

Science Fiction, Political Activism and Empathy
At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality. Perhaps it is one of the great dramas of the leader that he or she must combine a passionate spirit with a cold intelligence and make painful decisions without flinching. Our vanguard revolutionaries must idealize this love of the people, of the most sacred causes, and make it one and indivisible. They cannot descend, with small doses of daily affection, to the level where ordinary people put their love into practice…. We must strive every day so that this love of living humanity will be transformed into actual deeds, into acts that serve as examples, as a moving force.
–Che Guevera

Sara Flounders, Co-Director of The International Action Center, introduced Janet Rose at  the “coming out”/ reading / signing of  Beyond the Horse’s Eye at the Solidarity Center, June 2, 2013. (view video below)

I want to start by thanking Janet Rose for a wonderful book. How can I introduce it? I can only tell you what I was thinking about as I was reading it.

The fascinating thing about science fiction is that it enables you to envision the world that you want to see and maybe even think through, with analogies and fantasy, how we get there. Our hopes can be projected into another galaxy or another dimension. Science fiction is a very political medium.

What caught my fascination with Beyond the Horse’s Eye was the way that Janet Rose vividly described not just other galaxies but another form of energy — a form of energy that holds enormous power to transform the future and connect us in much deeper ways.

It is a kind of energy that many of us already believe has great potential.

Empathy, being able to tune into and feel the pain and the joy of others, is the basis of human solidarity.  It is a determination to stand up for the most oppressed and marginalized, to link together our common interests in a genuine non-exploitive way.

Empathy channeled = Empath Power!

In Beyond the Horses Eye Empath Power can be channeled to move across galaxies, time and species.

For us, in this still primitive time of human consciousness, if you are part of the fight for change you understand the power of human solidarity. So it really is a great fantasy to think how empathy can be channeled into an energy force in a future time.

We know the power and the energy of collective action. We also know that the collective passion for change can be hi-jacked by those who want to maintain their domination.

The corporate media constantly seeks to give shape to our greatest fears and use those fears to control us, demoralize us and stop collective action.

This is what demonization is all about. It feeds on the FEAR that we have a terrible enemy out there, an ENEMY who must be destroyed. So let’s not think about the problems right here. Collective energy can be turned around and used against us. Our fears can take shape.

At a very young age the ability to feel the needs and the pain of others is pruned, ruthlessly trimmed out of us in this capitalist society. For survival children are taught to fear all strangers, the unknown, the unusual. Socializing a child in this age involves teaching fear, caution, suspicion — who to talk to, who to love and who to ignore. What thoughts to allow, what identity, what gender expression….

Remember the song “We have to be taught to HATE.” And we are taught to hate. This leaves us as stunted, distorted beings. There are faculties and innate abilities that are literally cauterized out of us, at a very young age.

At this stage of human history, what communicates is the HOWL against an outrage, an injustice; a great crime resonates across the globe.

We can’t look too directly at the enormous levels of pain and injustice in the world we live in now. The sheer waste of human potential of millions impoverishes all of us. We need to develop filters. We have to look at things sideways or we will lose our sanity.

Many people, especially the most sensitive, do lose their sanity. They lose their ability to cope because the contradictions become insurmountable. The solution is that they get locked away or drugged.

We are an intelligent socially cooperative species, but most of our brain capacity and abilities at this rather primitive stage of development are not yet used or encouraged.

Can anyone here picture trying to explain to humans 200 years ago about radio and electromagnetic waves and frequencies, or about the internet? And these are just developments of science and technology.

We take for granted today developments in communication that if you time- traveled back and even tried to explain them 500 years ago you would have been burned at the stake.

So we are enormously confident that humans of a future more equitable and sharing world will have unimaginable communication capabilities, along with an ability to use technology in new, creative and liberating ways.

Janet Rose describes many species in a densely populated universe. Some galactic species we might think that we can almost recognize. For those of us fortunate enough to have pet, an animal companion, we become aware of levels of consciousness and forms of communication that we are not yet tuned into. There are languages we haven’t yet learned to speak. What else just might we be capable of?

So this book Beyond the Horse’s Eye is for all of us who are confident that humans will have, at a later time, skills, intuitions and capacities not yet conceived of today.

Her book grapples with and plays with and teases us to think about how to get from here to a new world.

Janet is right up front about what she thinks it will take. It will take struggle – – political struggle by those able to step beyond their own pain. In the ferment of struggle for change is where people find each other and find themselves.

Most of this book takes place during a time of BIG changes — the 1960s — when revolutionary energy was raw and pulsing with potential and collective determination. This was a revolutionary age when big breakthroughs were suddenly possible by linking up with others. There was a surge of collective energy vibrating through millions who were determined to push back old forms of oppression, racism, segregation, patriarchy, homophobia, and to challenge new attempts to dominate us.

The heroes in this book are young revolutionaries whose fierce determination and confidence in their own power flares out of them.

If you believe in the power of human solidarity, in the power of Empath in this age, you will want to read Beyond the Horse’s Eye.

It is a book for everyone who truly believes that another world is possible — and needed.

I am so glad that Janet Rose had the confidence in what she had written to take the leap of self-publishing. It means that she has refused to be defined by what is commercially viable in an un-free book market.

Sara Flounders, Co-Director of the International Action Center, introducing Janet Rose at the Book Launch reading

Coming soon: An video of the reading


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