Category Archives: Poetry

Bokelmann’s shade

I am in North Frisia right now, spending a few days by the North Sea shore with my son. I fell in love with this primordial landscape when I was a child myself (rather longer ago than I care to … Continue reading

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Blast from the past

The Roman fabulist Phaedrus opens the third book of his Fabulae with the following piece (Phaedr. 3.1, my translation): Anus ad amphoram Anus iacere vidit epotam amphoram, adhuc Falerna faece ex testa nobili odorem quae iucundum late spargeret. hunc postquam … Continue reading

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Hard shell, soft core

The late antique poet Claudian wrote a series of seven short epigrams on a fluid inclusion (or ‘enhydro’); these poems form part of a collection of Carmina minora (‘Shorter poems’), where they feature under the title De crystallo cui aqua … Continue reading

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Principiis obsta: resist beginnings!

Ovid, in his elegiac poem Remedia Amoris (‘Remedies for Love’), writes (Ov. rem. 89–94, transl. J. H. Mozley): Quale sit id, quod amas, celeri circumspice mente, et tua laesuro subtrahe colla iugo. Principiis obsta; sero medicina paratur, cum mala per … Continue reading

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Facts vs. alternative facts (formerly known as ‘bull$#!^’): an ancient poem

Phaedrus, Rome’s fabulist of the first century A. D., wrote a remarkable piece called Poeta de credere et non credere, ‘The poet’s judgement with respect to believing and not believing’ (Phaedr. 3.10). This is the rather delightful 1761 translation of … Continue reading

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When Harmony Disintegrates

You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family, the saying goes. And it made me wonder: considering that Roman literature is full of stories about family relations, how much do we really know about family life in … Continue reading

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Creative Processes

In 2015, my colleague Dr Rachel Mairs and I organised an international workshop that we called ‘Materialising Poetry‘. I have very fond memories of the day, and the theme that we got to discuss with our colleagues and students has … Continue reading

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Roman poetry is when…

My favourite definition of poetry goes like this: Poetry is when every line begins with a capital letter and does not reach the right margin of the page. I like this definition so much, because, in its focus on two … Continue reading

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New Year’s Death

For at least thirty-nine people their desire to celebrate the new year ended fatally last night in Istanbul when a hitherto unidentified perpetrator marched into a nightclub and gunned down his victims. Another 69 or so have been injured. In … Continue reading

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An innocent lamb used facts as a weapon against post-truth politics. You won’t believe what happened next…

In my previous post, I explored the dynamics and rhetoric behind what has been called ‘post-truth politics’. The concept still is very much on my mind. On the one hand, I am not deluded enough to believe that concepts such … Continue reading

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