Episode 94: Catullus & Shibari, with Isobel Williams

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We talked to Isobel Williams about her fascinating and illuminating new translation of selected poems of Catullus, illustrated with her drawings of the Japanese art of rope binding, shibari. Our discussion ranges over the connections between the world of shibari and the emotional struggles depicted in Catullus’s poetry, the way translation and learning Latin can feel like being tied up in, and untangling, knots, and much more.

Content Note: fetish, sex, brief mention of sexual violence, discussion of enslavement and use of slavery as metaphor

Blog about drawing shibari (Japanese rope bondage): Boulevardisme

Straight blog about drawing: Drawing from an uncomfortable position

Website: Isobel Williams

Twitter: @otium_Catulle

Instagram: @isobelwilliams2525

From Isobel: “For the online book launch, I compiled a video (>20 minutes) of self and others reading in Latin and English from the book. It starts with Sappho in ancient Greek and ends with Shakespeare, to show the continuity Sappho -> Catullus -> Ovid -> Shakespeare (it contains no Ovid). The video is here 'Catullus: Shibari Carmina' - readings and performances - YouTube

Page about the book

Link to the book for Canada and US: Catullus: Shibari Carmina | Independent Publishers Group

James Methven’s Precious Asses – highly recommended

Irish poet and mediaevalist Bernard O’Donoghue – Poet, Academic, Medievalist and Literary Critic

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