Thursday, November 28, 2013

365 Poems: Dante Thugs and Poetry. With footnotes***

Day 332 (Happy Thanksgiving!)

One of the poems that haunts me from ModPo is Caroline Bergvall's VIA: 48 Dante Variations, a list of 47 English translations of the first three lines of Dante’s Inferno.1

Anyway, the various translations, from scholars we've never heard of and from  famous translators like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Robert Pinsky, were gathered from the British Library, then copied and arranged by Ms. Bergvall2. Reading them is a strange journey in itself -- quiet and mysterious, somehow calming, repetitive yet not boring. When you listen to the poem3 -- she's really a sound artist, I guess, more than a poet -- it's absolutely hypnotic; she's a French-Norwegian with a really strange accent and I would absolutely follow her into that dark wood where the straight path vanishes.

Well, what do we care about Dante, you ask? (You've already suffered through three footnotes to get this far.**) An article from The Huffington Post has answered that question for us:4 if THUGS care about Dante, we should too. Just how important can Dante be to thugs? This important: Courtesy of my new favorite YouTube channel, Thug Notes (seriously, could I MAKE this UP?) I give you, Dante's Inferno in four minutes5:

1.  Oh, do follow that link, Dante lovers, it's so cool, it's to the Danteworlds Web site by the University of Texas at Austin and contains an abridged version of the original commentary contained in Danteworlds: A Reader's Guide to the Inferno [2007], published by the University of Chicago Press and it's very visual and has lots of explanations and seems to be a really well done online study guide for a class I wish I could take.
2. Visit her web site here.
3. Read a more erudite critique here.
4. As if half the stuff one reads in college lit classes doesn't reference it, depend on it, rip it off or quote it.
5. Thug Notes has quite an oeuvre. I hope you like it because I think I can get a lot of blog mileage from him.
6. The only blog post with footnotes you'll read today. You're welcome.
* Well, I was going to include a graphic of the real Durante degli Alighieri but when I Googled for an image this guy came up; he's apparently a character in a video game and looks way cooler, so sorry, real Dante. Video game Dante wins.
** Sorry. Not.
*** Apologies for the footnotes not begin hyperlinked. Blogger does not seem to play nice with anchors. I tried to code them three different ways and have lost my patience for the exercise.

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