- AT THE POETRY CENTER
- K12 EDUCATION
- AWARDS & RESIDENCIES
- GET INVOLVED
We will be reading Mary Jo Bang's new translation of this epic poem, published by Graywolf Press in 2012. This book club discussion will be led by poet Joni Wallace...who will connect to us via Skype to Mary Jo Bang herself!
The award-winning poet Mary Jo Bang has translated the Inferno into English at a moment when popular culture is so prevalent that it has even taken Dante, author of the fourteenth-century epic poem The Divine Comedy, and turned him into an action-adventure video-game hero. Dante, a master of innovation, wrote his poem in the vernacular, rather than in literary Latin. Bang has similarly created an idiomatically rich contemporary version that is accessible, musical, and audacious. She’s matched Dante’s own liberal use of allusion and literary borrowing by incorporating literary and cultural references familiar to contemporary readers: Shakespeare and Dickinson, Freud and South Park, Kierkegaard and Stephen Colbert. Bang’s version is true to the original: lyrical, politically astute, occasionally self-mocking, and deeply moving. With haunting illustrations by Henrik Drescher, this is the most readable Inferno available in English, a truly remarkable achievement.