William Matthews, “Grief”

Ohio-born poet William Matthews’s “Grief” (from the 1995 collection Time and Money) originally appeared in the November 29, 1993, issue of the New Yorker, with the title “Poem Ending With a Line From Dante” (accessible in the New Yorker archives, sign in required). In both versions, the poem ends with a translation of Inferno 24.151. Below is the version from Time and Money, with an image of the original publication in the New Yorker.

“Grief”

William-Matthews-Poem-Ending-With-A-Line-From-Dante-New-Yorker

E detto l’ho perché doler ti debbia!
Inferno, xxiv, 151

Snow coming in parallel to the street,
a cab spinning its tires (a rising whine
like a domestic argument, and then
the words get said that never get forgot),

slush and backed-up runoff waters at each
corner, clogged buses smelling of wet wool . . .
The acrid anger of the homeless swells
like wet rice. This slop is where I live, bitch,

a sogged panhandler shrieks to whom it may
concern. But none of us slows down for scorn;
there’s someone’s misery in all we earn.
But like a bur in a dog’s coat his rage

has borrowed legs. We bring it home. It lives
like kin among the angers of the house,
and leaves the same sharp zinc taste in the mouth:
And I have told you this to make you grieve.

Thomas Centolella, “In the Evening We Shall Be Examined on Love”

Although the most direct reference is to the 16th century Spanish mystic Saint John of the Cross, Thomas Centolella’s poem also recalls the pilgrim’s examination on love by Saint John in Paradiso 26:

“In the Evening We Shall Be Examined on Love”Thomas-Centolella-In-the-Evening-We-Shall-Be-Examined-on-Love-Paradiso
St. John of the Cross

And it won’t be multiple choice,
though some of us would prefer it that way.
Neither will it be essay, which tempts us to run on
when we should be sticking to the point, if not together.
In the evening there shall be implications
our fear will change to complications. No cheating,
we’ll be told, and we’ll try to figure the cost of being true
to ourselves. In the evening when the sky has turned
that certain blue, blue of exam books, blue of no more
daily evasions, we shall climb the hill as the light empties
and park our tired bodies on a bench above the city
and try to fill in the blanks. And we won’t be tested
like defendants on trial, cross-examined
till one of us breaks down, guilty as charged. No,
in the evening, after the day has refused to testify,
we shall be examined on love like students
who don’t even recall signing up for the course
and now must take their orals, forced to speak for once
from the heart and not off the top of their heads.
And when the evening is over and it’s late,
the student body asleep, even the great teachers
retired for the night, we shall stay up
and run back over the questions, each in our own way:
what’s true, what’s false, what unknown quantity
will balance the equation, what it would mean years from now
to look back and know
we did not fail.

From Thomas Centolella’s Lights and Mysteries (1995). See the text of the poem and other poems by Centolella at poetryfoundation.org.

Dante Fonts

dante-fonts

“The first Dante fonts were the product of a collaboration between two exceptional artists: Giovanni Mardersteig, a printer, book and typeface designer of remarkable skill and taste, and Charles Malin, one of the great punch-cutters of the twentieth century.
Mardersteig was born in 1892. While still a young man he developed a keen interest in the typefaces and printing of Giambattista Bodoni. The punches and matrices for Bodoni’s original types had been preserved, and Mardersteig obtained permission to use them. Charles Malin cut replacements for some of these original punches; later he cut punches for nearly all the new typefaces Mardersteig designed.
Dante was Mardersteig’s last and most successful design. By this time he had gained a deep knowledge of what makes a typeface design lively, legible and handsome. Years of collaboration with Malin had also taught him the nuances of letter construction, and the two worked closely to develop a design that was easy to read. Special care was taken in the design of the serifs and top curves of the lowercase to create a subtle horizontal stress, which helps the eye move smoothly across the page.
In 1955, after six years of work, the fonts were used to publish Boccaccio’s Trattatello in Laude di Dante. The design took its name from this project.”    —Lino Type

See more about Dante Fonts.

Iced Earth, “Burnt Offerings” (1995)

iced-earth-burnt-offerings-1995“This is Iced Earth’s heaviest album, but it still retains powerful symphonic sounds and heart-twisting acoustic passages. It also has all sorts of song structures, time changes, and cool stuff packed everywhere. Iced Earth had some long songs on the previous albums, but on this one they show their ability to create a full-fledged epic. ‘Dante’s Inferno’ takes us through the Nine Planes of Hell for sixteen minutes, each plane something new and demonic. This album was written during angry times — and it shows.”    —Iced Earth

Robert W. Smith, “The Divine Comedy”

robert-w-smith-the-divine-comedy“From the pen of Robert W. Smith has come some of the most impressive writing for contemporary bands and wind ensembles. THE DIVINE COMEDY, a monumental four-movement work, is presented along with other memorable compositions on this compact disc, which features conductor Anthony Maiello and the George Mason University Wind Ensemble. Titles include The Divine Comedy (The Inferno/Purgatorio/Paradiso/The Ascension) * The Tempest * Africa: Ceremony, Song and Ritual * Twelve Seconds to the Moon and others.”    —Alfred Music