If Gaius Valerius Catullus were to have somehow materialized on the streets of Los Angeles sometime in the late 70's, Fate would have guided Catullus to Charles Bukowski. Maybe Catullus would have seen Bukowski at a poetry reading, or more likely, pass him on his way out of the whorehouse. Catullus and Bukowski, two thousand years apart, wrote poetry cut from the same bedsheets.

Both poets tangled with women of less than pure character, and wrote eloquently about the experience. Some of Bukowski's poems seem to spring almost directly from Catullus's pages. For example, compare the Bukowski poem, to the whore who took my poems, to the Catullus poem, Adeste, hendecasyllabi, quot estis. In both works, a woman has stolen the writer's poetry, and refuses to give them back. Nether poet is happy about this. Bukowski acts hurt and depressed, Catullus acts angry and desperate. Creative Commons License
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The Charles Bukowski Center for Classical Latin Studies by Richard Bullington-McGuire is licensed under Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International