David Lehman wrote to me this afternoon to share one of Molly's translations he used in FU: An Anthology of Fuck You Poems
. Of course I was already quite aware of this translation, it's the translation that made me fall in love with Molly.
I will fuck you up the ass and in the mouth,
Aurelius, you sodomized ass-licker
And Furius, you perverted cock-sucker
Who read my sensual poems and conclude
I'm too wanton. For everyone knows
It's meet and proper for a poet to be
Pure, pious, and always correct in his behavior.
But we don't expect the same of his poems.
Of mine they'll say sure, they have wit, they have charm,
They're so sexy and lewd they can
Arouse -- I won't say boys, but these hairy
Men whose unstiff dicks wilt on the vine.
You who have kissed many thousands of mouths
Upper and nether, man and girl,
How dare you think me less than manly?
I will fuck you up the ass and in the mouth.
-- Catullus, trans. Molly Arden
Catullus was born in Verona in 87 BC and died in Rome in 58 BC. He had a love affair with a consul's wife, whom he calls Lesbia and whose real name may have been Claudia. He praised her pussy ("A single whiff and you'll get on your knees") and denounced his rivals for her affections ("scumbags") in immortal verse.
Molly Arden went to Bryn Mawr. She is a contributing editor of "Classic Literature in Translation." She lives in Ithaca, New York.