Today's poem is "Why Expect Any Different?"
from Poems of Love and Hate
Bloodaxe Books Ltd. / Dufour Editions
Gaius Valerius Catullus (c.84-c.54 bc) came from a wealthy Verona family. He was part of a new movement in Latin poetry, fusing Roman vernacular traditions with imported Greek forms. Although his poetry mentions many famous figures of his day, including Cicero and Julius Caesar, little is known of Catullus' own life. A few poems refer to his provincial service in Bithynia in 57 bc, while his married mistress, Lesbia, may have been the notorious noblewoman Clodia Metelli. According to classical tradition Catullus died at the age of 30. Despite its high reputation, most of his poetry was subsequently lost for over a thousand years, to be rediscovered during the Renaissance.
Josephine Balmer is a writer and translator. She has published two books with Bloodaxe, her translation Sappho: Poems and Fragments (1992) and the companion anthology, Classical Women Poets (1996). She is now working on a dual book project for Bloodaxe involving the publication of a new translation of Catullus together with her own book of poems, versions and translations, Chasing Catullus. Her translations of classical poetry have appeared in Spare Rib, Women's Review, The Guardian and The Independent on Sunday, amongst others. She is a regular reviewer for The Observer and The Independent on Sunday, and lives in Crowborough, East Sussex.
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