[lit-ideas] Gumnasia -- from Akanthos to Orsippos and Back

  • From: Eric Yost <mr.eric.yost@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2007 00:25:08 -0500

Simon avows: vole-like attempts at whimisical smut. I am, naturally, self-ridiculed - if such a statement is possible - and if it isn't, I stand to be corrected in a humiliating manner.

Here's an excerpt (the last three stanzas) of Billy Collins sending up Catullus in his poem "The News Today" from _Best American Poetry 2007_ (Scribner Poetry). The poet learns of a new translation of Catullus.

Nobody does it quite like you do, Catullus,
you insulting foulmouthed cocksucker,
and I am thrilled to hear that once again
your words have been ferried to the shores of English,
you mean-spirited pain in everyone's ass.

Without you, Catullus,
a pedestal in the drafty hall of the greats
would be missing its white marble bust.

And so I hail you, Catullus,
across the wide, open waters of literature,
you nasty motherfucker, you flaming Roman prick.
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