Catullus the poet is a great insulter. He names names: "Egnatius aping class with your thick black beard and/ flashing teeth scrubbed white with Spanish urine . . . " Reading Catullus has emboldened me. If he can write "prick,"--that's the mildest of his insults--I can begin a poem with "Shit for Brains, don't tell me . . . "
I'll never achieve Catullus's polish but I hope to find language as vulgar as his. But that's not all I've learned from Catullus. He wrote a love poem to a place, "Of all near-islands, Sirmio, and of islands/ the jewel . . . " Paene insularum, Sirmio, insularumque/ ocelle . . . ." So musical in Latin. And he talks to himself, "Miserable, Catullus" one poem begins.
I've now begun a poem with, "Poor, sorry Mim." If I'm lucky I will be able to write a love poem to a place.