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Gaius Valerius Catullus

The Poems of Gaius Valerius Catullus

 

Gaius Valerius Catullus was born in Verona in either 84 or 87 B.C.E. but lived in Rome for most of his life and died in 54 B.C. Catullus’s biography has to be pieced together from his poems and a handful of references in other ancient sources. Except for a brief political appointment in the province of Bithynia, Catullus appears to have spent the majority of his life in Rome. Catullus was part of a group of rebellious poets known as the Novi Poetae who used the language of everyday Romans in their poetry while still making use of Greek and Latin poetic tradition. Even among these poets, Catullus was unique in the intensity of personal experience in his poems. Catullus’ poems are modeled in many ways on the Greek poets whom he so admired (especially Callimachus and Sappho) but surpass their poems in their exuberance and intimacy. The twenty three hundred surviving lines of his poetry mostly consist of short lyric poems which range the gambit from impassioned love poems to political satire to bitter invectives. His poetry is full of humor, sadness, and bitterness and is unflinching in its portrayal of every facet of human emotion. The wild passion and explicit content of his poetry shocked many readers then and still does now. Many of his best-known poems deal with his turbulent love affair with “Lesbia,” who was probably Clodia, the sister of P. Clodius Pulcher and wife of Q. Caecilius Metellus Pulcher.

 

 

Catullus in  the Press:

 

http://burlesquepressllc.com/2013/12/10/poetry-makes-the-season-bright-by-jeni-stewart/

http://www.nola.com/books/index.ssf/2013/12/new_orleans_readers_have_many.html