Roz Kaveney

September 2018

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“Roz Kaveney’s Catullus is a wonder. She keeps all the scabrous parts as scabrous as the Latin does, and all the exquisite love poems as exquisitely touching. She uses rhyme, never used by Latin poets, to create a sense of high art — and at the same time compresses her language just as Latin poets do, tossing out connector words and suppressing syntax as she pleases. I’ve read many translations of Catullus: hers equals, if they do not in fact exceed, the ones I know.”

John Crowley, author

“To make Catullus’ much-translated poems seem surprising and fresh is a rare achievement — but nothing less than the most scabrous, the most tender of Roman poets deserves. A wonderful feat.”

Tom Holland, historian

“Roz Kaveney’s modern adaptations of Catullus’ poems bring them right up to date — in all their, sometimes shocking, ‘new-ness’: a good reminder how edgy ancient poetry could be.”

Mary Beard, Professor of Classics, University of Cambridge

In a great time for female translators of Catullus, Roz Kaveney’s versions are a particular delight. With her use of language and verse structure, she seems to capture the authentic voice of the poet.”

Tony Keen, Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Notre Dame

“Catullus understood translation, perhaps more deeply than anyone else in his world and language. He knew that to wear the skin of Sappho and Callimachus is also to throw your own skin around them – to bring them into your world, make them speak in your voice and you in theirs. Hilarious, poignant, mischievous, distraught, Roz Kaveney’s twinkling versions capture the staggering range of Catullus’ poetic moods, subjects, and forms: the encyclopaedia of a life lived and felt vividly in the now, even while cast into piquantly classical poetic shapes. She nails the jokes, uproariously; brilliantly sees how Catullus’ world and ours superimpose; and uncannily replicates the louche mischief and mastery that enabled Catullus to map the poetic lines that run between the deep time of the lost age of heroes and Julius Caesar’s scandalous genitals.”

Nick Lowe, Reader in Classics, Royal Holloway University


[…] a light, readable, enormously fun Catullus that will delight classicists and non-classicists alike.

Tori Lee, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

The Rome of Catullus and Kaveney is not one of colonnaded arcade and pomerium, of lush gardens fringing the Tiber and aqueducts delivering sparkling water to mansions on the Palatine […]

Anthony John, Tears in the Fence

[…] in many of her contemporary reworkings, Kaveney makes the case for a more rounded Catullus, the man whose emotions run so deeply and intelligently that his feelings on love and sex, loss and rage, spill out of him into perfectly constructed Latin metres […]

Natalie Haynes, Times Literary Supplement