Catullus the Neoteric

In the days of Catullus there was a revolution going on in the world of poetry. This revolution was being led by the "Poetae Novi," also known as the neoterics. These neoterics were the "new" poets for a new age of poetry. Before the neoterics came along poetry came in the form of long drawn out epics and annals. These poems were boring and lacking substance. The neoterics believed in writing short brief poems that had meaning. Their poems were more lyrical and often jovial at time. Oftentimes the poems were filled with immense amounts of emotion and sadness. The neoterics had their critics though. Many saw these poets as juvenile disgraces to society. They saw that there poems were full of parties, love affairs, and extravagance. These critics often looked for a much more nationalistic viewpoint and were more interested in the traditional way of writing. Catullus knew that these certain people wouldn't understand, so his poems, like most neoterics, were written to be read by other poets such as themselves. The neoteric writers even had their own vocabulary of words to either praise people or attack them. In many of the poems by Catullus he attacks certain writers for being utilitarian and didactic and he praises other poets for their wit and intellect. Through examining these particular poems by Catullus we can get a good sense of what the neoteric movement was all about.
Catullus' Poem I was an address to the poet Cornelius Nepos. Catullus criticizes him for his approach on writing and gives a clear view on how poets should go about writing their poetry:
To whom shall I give my clever, new little book,
just now smoothed with dry pumice stone?
For you Cornelius, for you were accustomed to think
that my little trifles had some worth.
When already at the same time, you alone
dared to unfold the whole age of Italians in three pages,
learned, by Jupiter ,and labored over.
For that reason ha…