Catullus’ rude bits

One of my idle preoccupations recently has been the work of Catullus, a Roman love poet whose work mostly bored or irritated me when I was obligated to study them years ago as part of my Latin A-Level*. Back then it was abundantly clear that the works were sexual and there was a hint of obscenity about them, but I wasn’t perverse enough to want to spend time digging deeper or inflict any of the poems that weren’t on the actual syllabus on myself. Even so, it was obvious that we weren’t being given the full story.

Going back to it now, I can see why. I can’t imagine my Latin teacher wanting us to conjugate the verb irrumo to conclude that irrumabo is the first-person singular future active indicative. There isn’t an exact English equivalent, but the polite option is “defile”. Facefuck is closer. It’s something like “I will put my cock in your mouth so that it will be sucked by you”. In English our verbs relate to the one doing the sucking.

The particular poem that has this word in the first line is a notorious one. Gaius Valerius Catullis is a poet who was regarded as one of the greats in the romantic form, by his contemporaries and more recently. That such direct details can be present in the canon of classical literature leads to awkward omissions from collections and translations, and people not getting the chance to see details that to me add substantially to what he was trying to do.

Clearly, he wanted to be obscene, to use specific and graphic sexual terms in at least some of his poems, but through the misfortune of writing in a period when that most ubiquitous of modern terms “fuck” is absent, he had to find other ways to talk about the deeds he was doing.

Two thousand years after he was writing, I still have access to the Latin texts of some of his work, along with some fairly shoddy English translations, but I also have access to the full diversity of rude words in English, as well as their chieftain, the mighty fuck. I’m hoping to be able to make the most of these assets and translate, or more likely reinterpret these ancient and beautiful texts into contemporary English. I’ll be the first to admit that my command of Classical Latin isn’t the finest but with my trusty Collins Gem Latin dictionary, vintage 1989, and my willingness to use offensive language to get the job done, I’m hopeful that I can produce something worthwhile.

The full text of my translation of Catullus Carmen 16 can be found here. Complete with my liberal interpretation of sexual terms in Latin, and my scurrilous omission of the names of the individuals that he was declaring his intention to do the things to, because Furius and Aurelius looked weird in the context and changing the names to Frank and Harry made me feel sad.

*I should probably mentioned that I failed.

Future projects

It’s no secret that it’s taken a while between my releases. It’s a year since Sinful Submissions came out, and almost seven since Beheld. Despite that, my time between hasn’t been completely inactive. Here’s a few of the other things that I’ve had on the go that are likely to reach daylight sooner or later.

Hannah’s Story – the Kindle version of this, what, novelette? Whatever you’re supposed to call something that’s about 9,000 words will be available in the next few days, with revised text and new art.

Succumbing – the follow-up to Sinful Submissions. I’ve got the body of the text pretty much sorted, so soon it’ll be on to sorting the formatting and the art. I’ve also got a very rough version of the next book after this waiting to be looked at and finished.

Ripples – a novel. I started writing this a few years ago and then got distracted by Sinful Submissions and never really went back to it. There’s a finished draft of the text that could do with some editting. It’s contemporary fiction, the story of a man who discovers that he has a child by an ex-girlfriend he hasn’t seen for many years, and that the child is being hailed as the new messiah by a cult.

Social Necrosis – a novel. Set in London in the near future, years after an initial zombie outbreak has killed most of the population. The story centres on Marcus Strang, an erratic but powerful psychic being used to collect information by the Met Police. Book one is done and I’ve partly written books two and three of the story.

Hannah’s story part two.

Part 1 of Sinful Submissions Hannah’s Story has now had more than 2,000 views on Short Fiction. Hopefully some people actually made it to the end and weren’t too disappointed that there was some literature getting in the way of the fucking. Part 2 is now available here and on Short Fiction. In this chapter, Hannah and Jen become closer and their love helps them to become stronger.

hannah part 2

Sinful Submissions: Hannah’s Story

In November I wrote the first draft of Succour, volume three of Sinful Submissions, but most of the time recently I’ve been working on something from volume two, Succumbing. This is the story of the eponymous Hannah over the course of several decades of her life. Part one has her a shy young student living away from home for the first time. In due course the full story will be available from Amazon, but in the meantime you can find part one here, or on Short Fiction. Hannah part 1

The story of the dead lady put me off completely.

I’ve had feedback from a few people that have read Sinful Submissions now. Some of it has been interesting. I can only wonder what reaction Succumbing will provoke. Comments so far have included:


It’s almost enough to make me dribble in my pants a little.

The story of the dead lady put me off completely.

My favourite thing to do is read your book whilst in the bath with my waterproof bullet.

I will never be able to look at a milking parlour or confessional in the same way ever again.

Who have you been speaking to because I think you got the female mind down pat.

Goodreads giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Sinful Submissions by Ed Bemand

Sinful Submissions

by Ed Bemand

Giveaway ends August 01, 2012.

See the giveaway details
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Succumbing sneak preview

A fair few people have read Sinful Submissions now and I’ve had positive feedback on it. I wrote the rough version of the followup late last year and I’ve been editing it since. It’s called Succumbing and will be stylistically very similar to Sinful Submissions, a collection of short stories about a diverse group of people with myriad desires and yearnings including a lot of graphic sexual content and nude drawings. So far I’ve finished a selection of the stories. I’m planning on making some of them available in advance to people that are interested in them. These are the titles of the finished stories:

How distance helped Laura and Richard become closer

How a virgin had many children

How a peasant became grandfather to a lord

How Alastair got his scar

How love changed Lewis

Why Hannah decided she liked cocks

How Lucille became a woman and lost a friend

Which of these titles intrigues you most? Tell me which one you like and you might get to read it.
Succumbing tentacle


I’m working on the follow-up to Sinful Submissions at the moment. I wrote the roughest of conceivable versions of it over the course of NaNoWriMo 2011, also known as November. It includes further tales of Antoine the artist and what led him to abandon brushes in favour of sculpting the dead plus a panoply of other experiences to suit many a fetish and peccadillo. While working on it I’ve also drawn a lot of pictures, which leads me to a thought. The pictures that appeared in the first volume were included as a last minute decision. They are rough and ready and drawn by me. An actual artist has offered to illustrate the second book. Is that a good thing? For anyone that likes the current pictures, if you buy a print copy of Sinful Submissions from this site you’ll receive an original drawing in the style of the ones in the book with it.