Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Catullus 2a

Poor Catullus 2a, it doesn't even get its own Wikipedia page.  Some have argued over the centuries that these three lines belong with Catullus 2, others that they constitute a separate poem.  I do find it interesting that folks have debated this questions for centuries.  Reading Dante it strikes me that
a.  He had a big idea for a long poem.
b.  He finished it.
c.  It still fascinates people almost 700 years later.
Tom Jackson over at has written about his hope that Robert Anton Wilson's works enter the canon.  I find canon formation fascinating.

Many of us have grand ideas, but most of them don't come to fruition.  I notice how many writers mention books they plan to write but never get around to.  Six days ago marked the Sun Ra centennial, so I've listened to a bunch of Sun Ra this week.  He had some odd ideas, but he kept his large Arkestra together for decades and put out tons of recordings.

On another note, my wife and I watched the Kenneth Branagh film Conspiracy and found it fascinating.  It dealt with the Wannsee Conference where fifteen German man essentially planned the Final Solution in 1942.  I found especially disturbing the use of Schubert's Quintet in C at the end of the film.  Heydrich, who chaired the meeting, played violin and loved classical music.  I also found disturbing how little jail time most of these men did after the war.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Catullus 2

I found this Youtube video of an animated statue reciting Catullus 2: .  This poem deals with the pet sparrow of Catullus's beloved.  This reminded me of Crowley's comment on the Empress card in The Book of Thoth: "Perching upon the flamelike uprights of her throne are two of her most sacred birds, the sparrow and the dove; the nub of this symbolism must be sought in the poems of Catullus and Martial."

I don't know whether I will teach Latin next year.  I need to resubmit my Latin I class to the University of California to get it approved as a college prep elective.  If they reject it for the third time, I probably won't teach Latin at the high school next year.  UC has gotten tougher on approving classes.  I will likely teach Latin the following year and thereafter, since I intend to eventually get it approved.  Perhaps the third time will prove a charm.

If I keep teaching Latin, I hope and pray my Latin will improve, perhaps so much so that I can really understand Catullus in Latin.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Catullus 1

Roman books of poetry tended to opening with an introductory poem, often dedicated to a patron.  This post marks the first of my Catullus posts.  I plan to do one a week for a few years, except for Decembers, when I plan to focus on "A".  Louis and Celia Zukofsky did a version of all of Catullus.

I first encountered Catullus in the fall of 1983 reading Ezra Pound's From Confucius to Cummings.  Back in college when I got a cold I would often buy a book and/or record and go home and read.  In the fall of '83 I read I mostly wanted to get Pound books.

Wikipedia provides this version of Catullus 1:
LineLatin textEnglish translation
1cui dono lepidum novum libellumTo whom do I dedicate this new, charming little book
2arida modo pumice expolitumjust now polished with a dry pumice stone?
3Corneli tibi namque tu solebasTo you, Cornelius, for you were accustomed
4meas esse aliquid putare nugasto think that my nonsense was something,
5iam tum cum ausus es unus Italorumthen already when you alone of Italians
6omne aevum tribus explicare cartis1dared to unfold every age in three papyrus rolls,
7doctis Iuppiter et laboriosislearned, Jupiter, and full of labor.
8quare habe tibi quidquid hoc libelliTherefore have for yourself whatever this is of a little book,
9qualecumque quod o2 patrona virgo3of whatever sort; which, O patron maiden,
10plus uno maneat perenne saeclomay it remain everlasting, more than one lifetime.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

"May the Fourth Be with You"

I found this "Copyright Notice by PZ" (Paul Zukofsky, son of Louis Zukofsky) interesting , especially since Louis Zukofksy used quotations so liberally, especially in Bottom: On Shakespeare.

I just watched the movie The Ring twice in two different film history classes.  The use of horses made me think of Louis Zukofsky, although I suspect he would not have liked the film.

I plan to start focusing on the translations of Catullus by Louis and Celia Zukofsky.  I plan to focus on one each week.  It will take me a little over two years.  I plan to put that on hiatus during Decembers while I reread "A".  I suspect I will start the Catullus project in a few weeks.

I just learned that Lawrence Kasdan co-wrote the Star Wars: Episode VII screenplay.  I love a lot of his work, from The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark to The Big Chill and Silverado.  I look forward to seeing Episode VII with my family in December of 2015.  I struck me this week that people with whom I saw each episode of Star Wars the first time make a sort of map of my life.  In 1977 in ninth grade I saw Star Wars with my friends Scott Larson and David Burge.  In 1980 I saw The Empire Strikes Back with my dad.  In 1983 I saw Return of the Jedi with my sister the night it came out.  I saw it again the next morning, and my sister and I saw it again that night.

In 1999 I saw Episode I with my wife, her son Jimmy and his friend Robert and her granddaughter Tayler.  In 2002 Debbie, Jimmy, and I saw Episode II.  In 2005 we had four generations: Debbie's dad, Debbie and I, Jimmy, and Tayler and her sister.  I look forward to seeing the saga continue.