Newly translated according to a scheme of staggering ambition, an anthology unlike any now available
Composed between the early-agricultural 'song culture' of 800 BCE, when praise poems and dirges mingled in a world peopled with gods and monsters, and the time of Imperial Rome, the corpus of Greek and Latin lyric poetry is as densely rich in formal interrelation and allusion as anything we know in English verse. Poets like the Greek Callimachus and the Roman Horace self-consciously modelled themselves on earlier bards - Sappho and Mimnermus, Pindar and Alcaeus - and produced poetry thick with references and resonances from the work of their exemplars. Yet, as a rule, for the reader in English translation, much of this fascinating interplay is inaccessible. One translator approaches a given poet in one way; another translator approaches the next poet in another. We receive the part, but lose the whole.
In an undertaking of astonishing ambition, Chris Childers has sought to remedy this situation by translating the most representative and significant poems from both languages in a single volume, and according to consistent principles of translation. No other book now available so much as attempts this. A decade in the making, The Penguin Book of Greek and Latin Lyric Verse gives us back the full complexity and play of two immortal traditions as we have never seen them before.