Will Brewbaker on Shane McCrae’s “Sometimes I Never Suffered”

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“This act of holding together both heaven and earth pervades Shane McCrae’s Sometimes I Never Suffered, the prolific poet’s latest collection. Racial injustice, economic inequality, simple human cruelty — McCrae addresses all of these subjects, these facts of the world, head-on — while, like Dante, transposing the literal into the otherworldly.  [. . .]

“The final two poems in Sometimes I Never Suffered return explicitly to Dantean territory. Famously, the last word in each section of Dante’s Comedy is the Italian word ‘stelle,’ meaning ‘stars.’ In a sly parallel, McCrae makes this Limber’s last word, too. After describing meeting one of those souls who were ‘babies when they died […] [who] walk around in sailor hats with blank / Looks on their faces’ — another ingenious creation — Limber says:

… when I tried to talk to
Him it was like I wasn’t there
So    I peeked    in his mouth

and in his mouth was the whole sky and stars

“Not only does this final line offer a remarkably coherent cosmic scope, but it also serves as a segue into the book’s last movement — a multipage poem that returns to the hastily assembled angel’s story and finds the angel first building, then climbing the ladder to heaven.” [. . .]    —Will Brewbaker, Los Angeles Review of Books, October 13, 2020.

Read more of Brewbaker’s reviews here.

G-Dragon, “Divina Commedia” (2017)

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“The end of hardship Divina Commedia…”

Click on the image above to access the lyric music video, released in 2017, on Youtube.

“I’m not Dante, and you’re not Vergilius” – Resident Evil: Revelations

“You said yourself, ‘Abandon hope all ye who enter here.’ But I’m not Dante, and you’re not Vergilius.”

Learn more about Capcom’s 2012 video game Resident Evil: Revelations here.

Cesare

From Volume 2, Chapter 10, in Fuyumi Soryo’s 2005 manga series Cesare, which makes extensive reference to the Divine Comedy.

Learn more about Cesare here.

“Lelouch’s Little Light Reading” in Code Geass R2 (2006)

“Eagle-eyed viewers of Code Geass R2‘s first episode may have spotted that Lelouch is reading Dante’s Divina Commedia while Rollo gives him a lift. (As a child, I never loved anyone enough to give them my last Rolo.)

Slightly more obsessive viewers will have discovered that he is in fact reading the Purgatorio Canto XXII.”    –Thaliarchus, Animanachronism, April 9, 2008

Learn more about Sunrise’s 2006 anime Code Geass here.

Robert Macfarlane’s Landmarks and Books About Walking

“It’s also a book about walking. Macfarlane is nothing if not boots on ground, following one path or another as he hoofs it from orchard to cottage to inn to pub, talking to the people who know the land best, the ones who live and work on it. Of course, he is not the first person to connect walking with writing. The first writers didn’t have any choice. Before cars and trains and airplanes, they could choose economy travel (by foot) or business class (via mule or horse); only the well-off could travel in first class (coach). Not that walking is a bad thing for a writer: ‘My wit will not budge if my legs are not moving,’ writes Montaigne.

Keats often walked as many as 12 miles a day, even when his consumption was raging. Dickens trod the streets of London all night ‘to still my beating mind,’ as he said. And before the Dante of the Divine Comedy legged it through the Inferno on his way to Purgatory and Paradise, the real-life Dante Alighieri wandered for years after his exile from Florence, crossing swamps where one might sicken and die in hours and following roads that gave way to paths dense with briars and thick with trees hiding thieves.”    –David Kirby, The Smart Set, August 10, 2020

Check out Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane on Amazon here.

Jewelery Inspired by the Opening Lines of the Divine Comedy Contest Results

“The competition challenged BAJ students to design jewellery inspired by the opening lines of Dante Alighieri’s epic poem, the Divine Comedy.

‘Ultimately,’ wrote the BAJ in a statement, ‘the quality of submissions was so high that it was impossible to choose just one design, Alighieri said. Four students have therefore been selected as the competition’s winners.’

The winners of the BAJ X Alghieri competition are Dorottya Feher, Petra Otenšlégrová, Linnea Thuning and Emma Withington.”    –Sam Lewis, Professional Jeweller, August 4, 2020

Salvador Dali’s Stairway to Heaven – Fort Wayne Museum of Art

“The Salvador Dalí‘s Stairway to Heaven exhibit is comprised of illustrations originally made for two very different literary works: a 1934 edition of Les Chants de Maldoror, a prose-poem by Comte de Lautréamont, and a 1960 edition of Dante Alighieri’s the Divine Comedy. When Dalí created the first portfolio in the 1930s, he embraced Surrealism with its wildly imaginative dreamscapes. The lascivious lifestyle he and his wife led at this time is also evident in his work of the ’30s. By the time he illustrated Dante’s the Divine Comedy in the 1960s, Dalí had renounced Surrealism and become a born again Catholic. His personal life had shifted dramatically to embrace what he termed a divine or ‘mystical ecstasy’ which is evident in this second, celebrated portfolio.”    —Fort Wayne Museum of Art, June 13, 2020

“6 Downtown Dallas Museums Unveil Plans to Reopen After COVID-19 Shutdown”

“All exhibitions that were on display when the museum closed have been extended, and the special exhibition For a Dreamer of Houses, which was to have opened on March 15, will be available for view with the purchase of an additional ticket. It will now remain on view until July 4, 2021. Also opening on August 14 will be Dalí’s Divine Comedy, which showcases selections from Salvador Dalí’s most ambitious illustrated series: his colored wood engravings of the Divine Comedy.”    –Alex Bentley, CultureMap, August 10, 2020

“9 Times Marilyn Manson Was the Greatest Rockstar in Any Circle of Hell”

“Marilyn Manson, the man and his eponymous band, brought darkness back into the spotlight in the early ‘90s. Achieving popularity without a scalp scraped by butterfly clips or an official Pog line, Manson became the new face of fear. Fear of violence, sex, vulgarity, drugs, and most crucially Satanism. He was hailed by fans of alternative music, and reviled by the mainstream, as the self-styled Antichrist Superstar. Just like mythical depictions of the Anti-Christ, Manson has a silver (forked) tongue and an intelligence that few can comprehend. He is a cause for parents to fear their teenager’s headphones, coiled around their babies like the snake in Eden.

[. . .]

In Manson, no creative force has brought such a vivid and lyrical depiction of Hell since Dante’s Inferno, the first part of the fourteenth-century epic poem Divine Comedy. The band’s back catalogue gives as nuanced and sprawling a Hell as Dante, taking listeners through all nine circles. Whereas Dante’s guide was Roman Poet Virgil, ours is the icon formally known as Brian Warner.”    –Daniel Wylie, What Culture, August 10, 2020