In her essay for the exhibition catalogue Cy Twombly: Making Past Present, Canadian poet and classicist Anne Carson relates the work of ancient Roman poet Catullus to that of American artist Cy Twombly. She notes that the styles of both men include an “erudite allusion mixed with earthly expression features.” In this lecture, Carson employs the poems of Catullus to better understand the significance of Twombly’s work, all while avoiding what the French literary theorist Roland Barthes called “the temptation of meaning.” Although she is a noted professor, Carson is most well known for her works of poetry, including Autobiography of Red (1998); textual criticism, such as Eros the Bittersweet (1986); and translations, among them If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho (2002).

Anne Carson, poet