"‘In order to be educated,’ said Mr. Pekkanen, 78, who is proficient in not only Latin but also ancient Greek and Sanskrit, ‘it was once said that a real humanist must write poetry in Latin and Greek.’"
Which is one reason, among many, why Classics students at Ave Maria University are studying Latin verse composition this semester. The meter we are working on this week and last is the Alcaic, Horace’s favorite lyric meter. The students’ poem translation projects have also been moving forward. I asked them to select an English poem of their choice and to prepare a translation of it over the course of the semester, starting with the compilation of a miniature thesaurus for its words & expressions, proceeding to a draft in Latin prose, and next week to a draft in meter; most of them have chosen to use dactylic hexameter. Their topics range from Wordsworth to the west wind to baseball. I even heard tell that a couple weeks ago one student composed a Sapphic stanza for his fiancée on the occasion of their engagement. This is a practical application indeed!