Art Beck’s selection of Martial’s Epigrams brings vigor, immediacy and, above all, a timely music to these apparently simple and hence difficult to translate classics. These new translations, part of Beck’s much longer Martial project, affirm the poet/translator’s fine ear for contemporary cadences set some 2,000 years apart. The selection concludes with an “Afterthought,’” in fact the translator’s own verse epistle to his cousin, also a writer, in which Beck sets out a kind of ars poetica for his renderings of Martial.
Art Beck has published several collections of poetry and poetry translations, most recently Luxorius Opera Omnia, a Duet for Sitar and Trombone, which was awarded the 2013 Northern California Book award for poetry in translation. He lives and works in San Francisco.