Review of The Poems of Catullus by Catullus

Words and expressions the translator should have thought twice about using: “Treadmill,” “French poodle,” “syphilitic.”

Catullus is the OG badass Roman poet. His polyamorous adventures and vicious satirical portraits amply flex his majorly ripped wit, status, and (professed) sexual prowess.

Listen to him mic drop other statesmen and rapturously serenade his shameless strumpet Lesbia. His crucifying words remain vivid and alluring. Witness the art of the insult developed into an intimate, nauseating symphony:

“Even your arses, dry
as fine, operative salt-cellars –
working maybe ten times a year,
the product
like pebbles
or dry broad-beans
easily friable
between the fingers
and leaving no sh-t-smudge.”