The Mortal City by Martial, trans. by William Matthews

Issue #69
Spring 1996

Philip Levine recommends
The Mortal City, translations by William Matthews of one hundred epigrams by the Latin poet Martial: “The best book of translations I’ve read in ages. Matthews manages to make a first-century a.d. poet who wrote in Latin sound both like a Roman and a contemporary. All the wit you find in Matthews’s own work, the intelligence, the daring, quick moves, are here. Matthews, who can think inside a poem better than anyone else I know of writing in English today, shows us one of the great sources of his inspiration. The book is brilliantly and economically introduced. A collection to be read, reread, and cherished.” (Ohio Review Books)