Monday, July 18, 2005

Looking up Catullus's "Odi et Amo" this morning for a workshop I'm leading tonight, I remembered how struck I was in my university Latin classes by the different visually oriented poetic devices a heavily inflected language encourages (inflection is the marking of a word, often with an ending, to indicate grammatical function): for instance, the chiastic balance in velles dicere nec tacere posses (the ABCBA pattern the parts of speech form) or the way in which the beloved Lesbia is surrounded by life and love in Vivamus, mea Lesbia, atque amemus.

Don't worry, I'm not making the kids read Latin.

LATER: I guess the visual reading is likely my imposition.

STILL LATER: Maggie says it's not, so it's not.


Blogger a.raw said...

is this the TPL "winners" workshop? how'd it go?

5:45 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Hey Angela,

It went really well. There's always that moment--or at least I always have them--where you're saying to yourself, "they're not buying this," but I think they had a good time, and I think I saw some real interest ignited in a few cases. I love it when they say, "this isn't what we do in school." I came home on a real high.

Yeah, I think the whole thing could be a lot better (e.g., if it were less of a contest), but it seems the organizers are receptive to suggestions.

Good luck with yours. Tomorrow, right? I'd love to hear what you're planning, or, if you don't have a chance, what you've done.

6:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i don't think the visual reading is your imposition at all. i think it's fundamental to latin poetry; it's always been part of how i read latin, and how i translated it back when i used to translate it (which was some very odd translation, but they gave me my degree anyway).

it's actually immensely fascinating what you can do in a heavily inflected language, and i've made some attempts to carry some of that over into my own poetry in a far less inflected language.

hadn't thought about this in years, i must admit, but i found myself in a conversation about it a few months ago, and here it is again.

-- maggie helwig

7:54 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:02 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Thanks for the comment, Maggie.

Agh. I knew something was wrong. I guess I picked the wrong thing (English not an inflected language?). Fixed it.

Since yesterday I've thought that maybe a good part of my approach to writing has been informed by Latin poetry. This would make sense, because translating Latin was the closest I got to creative writing in school.

9:18 PM  

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