Catullus was undoubtedly one of the most intimate, witty, vivid, and tender poets of antiquity. Perhaps his greatest gift was his ability to truthfully reveal the fleeting instants of his bare psyche: moments of erotic passion, of scorn and jealousy, of heartfelt devotion, of consuming love. The cycle of poems to his love, “Lesbia,” have entranced poets and translators across the centuries, enriching many different traditions in English-language poetry.
This anthology of Catullus’s love poems showcases translations from many New Directions authors, including James Laughlin, Bernadette Mayer, Muriel Spark, and Louis and Celia Zukofsky, as well as beloved timeless translations, like those of Ben Jonson and Christopher Marlowe. Also included are several newly commissioned translations from contemporary poets and writers.