Hot TipHere's my advice on how to shine on the epigram-writing scene:a poem should not mean, or be; but it should be mean.
Take that, Mr. MacLeish! Brooke Clark's Urbanities came out from Fitzhenry & Whiteside, a small Canadian press, in 2020. It's a collection of mostly epigrammatic poetry adapted from classical models:
...so here's my pitch: I've tried to write some poems you might enjoy--a radical idea now, to deploythe resources of poetry, not to stretch and strainsyntax until it cracks, but to entertain.
A sweet deal, Toast, being Chloe's pet:you hop up on her lap and geta giggle or a happy sigh;your paw slides up her inner thighdemesnes denied the human hand...
Catullus, at least based on where he placed Lesbia's sparrow, was more a breast man. There was also a version of Catullus 51, which is Catullus version of the Sappho poem. Clark's version begins, "That man seems like a god to me." I quite liked his two Horace adaptations, but they're a little long to quote. There's also Mimnermus (a favorite of mine in Greek), Callimachus, others.
I do wish he'd identified the poems he was adapting from. Some I recognized, but especially with the Martial poems (a poet I hardly know at all) it would have been fun to compare, but I generally couldn't.
One last Martial adaptation to end (and nearly the end of his book):
So that's my book. Such trifles don't make a literary star,
but they can't have been all bad--you read this far.Stardom's for those whose luminous lines sear with sincerity.You laughed a few times? Good enough for me.