Josephine Balmer's 'Chasing Catullus' ventures into border territory, the no-man's-land between poetry and translation, juxtaposing new poems with fresh versions of ancient texts, brazenly reimagining classical literature, wittily subverting epic works, overwriting the past like a palimpsest. But there is a more personal journey here too. 'Chasing Catullus' presents a dark odyssey of the soul, descending in and out of the underworls as Balmer responds to the death of her young niece from cancer, exploring difficult times and dangerous emotions with compassion and humour. The poems push back the boundaries, blurring differences between ancient and modern, familiar and unfamiliar, giving voice to contemporary loss and grief.
Josephine Balmer studied Classics and Ancient History at University College London, and has worked as a continuing education lecturer in Classics and ComparativeLitrature. She is a freelance writer and translator. As well as Chasing Catullus translation, she has published Sappho: poems &Fragments and the anthology Classical women poets with bloodaxe. She lives in Crowborough in East Sussex and in Cornwall.