The Poets' Dante: Twentieth-Century Responses

T.S. Eliot wrote "Perhaps confessions by poets of what Dante has meant to them may even contribute something to the appreciation of Dante himself." The great fourteenth century poet has been an unequaled influence on many writers in the twentieth century, whose "confessions" may well foster a deeper appreciation of Dante.

Previously published essays by some of this century's most renowned poetsPound, Eliot, Mandelstam, Robert Fitzgerald, Borges, Merrill, Montale, Lowell, Duncan, Auden, Yeats, Charles Williams, Nemerov, Heaneyjoin new essays commissioned by the editors. Contemporary poets Mary Campbell, W. S. Di Piero, J. D. McClatchy, W. S. Merwin, Robert Pinsky, Rosanna Warren, Alan Williamson, and Charles Wright reflect on Dante as well as on their own complex (and often contentious) relationship to his legacy. Their engagement with his work offers a fresh perspective on the Commedia and its author that more academic writing does not provide.

As the editors write, a new consideration of Dante "should generate insights not only about his work but also about poetry written in our own language and time."

Edited by Peter S. Hawkins and Rachel Jacoff
432 pages
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002

Paperback
5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches




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