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For the past few months, I have tried my hand every day or so to compose short poetry in Latin. I have found it helps me exponentially in translating Catullus (which we're studying now in Latin IV H) as well as becoming adept at deciphering and appreciating the nuances (and difficulties!) in writing Latin poetry. I have also taken to translating into Latin works in English or those that have been translated into English.


Does anyone have recommendations for composition? I.e., helpful sites or fora where I could share/get help on my work?


Thank you!


P.S. You can see my work at cantilenosa.tumblr.com (I'm only just getting the hang of rhythm and word selection, and I haven't yet tackled meter, so excuse the harshness of many of the lines). If you have any yourself, you please share them there!

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What a wonderful use of Tumblr, Divya! Very nice!

I have a little article here about an interesting and weird "poetry generating machine" of sorts in Latin from a book called Steganometrographia published in 1751 - you might get a kick out of it! It's a system for encoding secret messages in Latin verse, allowing people to create Latin elegiac poetry without actually knowing the rules for poetry. Crazy - but fun!
Thank you!
Wow, that's fascinating! I'm going to try it out!
I had so much fun when I discovered that book and read how it worked. This summer I am going to try to make a love-elegy-generating machine like Uken's so that people could encode their lover's name in the poem! :-)
I'm was having a bit of trouble reading it because it's written in Latin, but I found the tabellae pages. Does one choose any chart to use? It seems like great fun!
And that's a wonderful idea! Very sweet, too :)
Hi Divya, they go in order - so you start with Chart 1, and you get your first letter of the secret message, then go to Chart 2, and find the second letter, then Chart 3 and so on.

Or, if you are using it just to generate poetry without encoding a message, start at Chart 1 and choose the phrase you like best (maybe with the vocabulary you recognize immediately), then Chart 2 and so on.

No matter what items you pick, as long as you go through the charts in order, 1-2-3-4-5 and so on, you will get a metrically correct, grammatically correct elegiac poem!

It's quite amazing.

Wow, thank you! I'll definitely show this to my Latin teachers (after generating several poems, of course)! Truly incredible.
Definitely spread the word! I love the way that this book, totally obscure and rare, is now something EVERYBODY can have their own copy of, thanks to GoogleBooks!
Hi Divya,

You might like to have a look at VATES: THE JOURNAL OF NEW LATIN POETRY. This is available for free download (in pdf format) from my website, www.pineapplepubs.co.uk.

And if you enjoy reading it you might consider contributing to a future issue?

Good luck and best wishes,




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