In this article, I argue that Celia and Louis Zukofsky’s 1969 Catullus dismantles the concept of transparent literalism as a foundation of fluency-based approaches to translation. Unlike subsequent examples of homophonic translation, or translation that privileges sound over meaning, the Zukofsky Catullus never abandons semantic correspondence but rather redefines it. Many readers have approached the text with anxiety over its perceived difficulty, focusing on its procedural rigor and apparent lack of transparent meaning at the expense of its playfulness and performativity. As I seek to demonstrate in this article, we can also read the Zukofsky Catullus for its surface pleasures. I suggest a reading that takes a visceral response to the material surface of language—its shape, sound, and rhythm—as a starting point.