Galway 2020: Poet Rita Ann Higgins compares it to Dante’s Inferno

“Galway poet Rita Ann Higgins has said her city has left it ‘too late’ to appoint a new artistic director for its controversial European capital of culture 2020 project, and should set up a team of artists to provide a creative lead instead.

“Ms Higgins, who is a member of Aosdána, has also called on the Galway 2020 board to ‘take the project by the scruff of the neck and come out fighting.’

“The poet has compared the project’s current state to the nine circles of hell in Dante’s Inferno in a new piece of work she has published this week.

“The poem, entitled ‘Capital of Cock-a-Leekie Inferno (9 circles of 2020 Hell)’, tracks the course of the project since Galway secured the European capital of culture designation in 2016, and focuses on recent funding cuts to artistic groups accepted for the bid book.” […]    –Lorna Siggins, Irish Times, October 17, 2018

Laura Callaghan, Pick Me Up Graphic Arts Festival, 2015


Contributed by Emily Hochman (Bowdoin, ’15)

Philip Terry, “Dante’s Inferno” (2014)

KhalvatiCover“Following his irreverent, inspired Oulipean reworking of Shakespeare’s sonnets, in his new book Philip Terry takes on Dante’s Inferno, shifting the action from the 12th to the 20th and 21st centuries, and relocating it to the modern “walled city” of the University of Essex. Dante’s Phlegethon becomes the river Colne; his popes are replaced by vice-chancellors and ministers for education; the warring Guelfs and Ghibellines are reimagined as the sectarians of Belfast, Terry’s home city. Meanwhile, the guiding figure of Virgil takes on new form as Ted Berrigan, one-time Essex writer-in-residence and a poet who had himself imagined the underworld. In reimagining an Inferno for our times, Terry stays paradoxically true to the spirit of Dante’s original text.”  –backcover


Seamus Heaney


Seamus Heaney“In ‘Station Island’ (1984) — a dazzling reworking of Dante, set on an Irish island known for centuries as a place of religious pilgrimage — all the themes of Heaney’s work come together in an orchestral whole. Here, the present, past and myth merge and overlap, and the competing claims on an artist emerge in the form of ghosts: literary ghosts, ghosts from the poet’s own past and ghosts from Ireland’s past: a young priest ‘glossy as a blackbird” and a shopkeeper cousin shot in the head, who ‘trembled like a heat wave and faded.’ ” […]    –Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times, August 30, 2013

Aidan Harte, Inferno Sculptures (2009)

aidan-harte-dante-sculptures“I’ve been working on this collection since I came back from Italy, and thinking about it for a lot longer. For what I want to do, combine realism with imaginative expressionism, sculpture is the perfect medium. In print and TV, we’re pepper-sprayed with visuals every hour of every day these days. It’s become very easy to tune it out as visual noise – somehow, for me at least, sculpture isn’t like that. Maybe it’s because it’s not an image of something but (seemingly) the thing itself – with mass and dimension, that it still demands our undivided attention. And maybe that’s why bad sculpture is so offensive, and great sculpture so sublime.
I’ve worked hard to try to make these pieces capture the imagination in the way Dante captured mine.”    —Aidan Harte, July 7, 2009

“Dante obsessed me when I studied sculpture in Italy. The Inferno contains a world of characters, but I chose to sculpt only those which spoke to my life. Each piece relates to a verse, recreating Dante’s journey in Hell….”    —Aidan Harte (retrieved on January 16, 2010)

See more sculptures by Aidan Harte at Sol Art Gallery, Dublin, Ireland.

Contributed by Guy Raffa

The Divine Comedy, “A Short Album About Love” (1997)

the-divine-comedy-a-short-album-about-love-1997“The Divine Comedy is Neil Hannon. Over the years, the name has encompassed other musicians, but the driving force of the band and its main (sometimes only!) member has always been Neil Hannon. He chose the name ‘The Divine Comedy’ aged 18, almost at random. He and two Enniskillen school friends needed a new name for their band and Neil spotted a copy of Dante’s epic poem on the family bookshelf. It stuck, and a year later it was the name under which the trio signed to Irish run indie Setanta Records. They left Northern Ireland, moved into a squat in London, released a mini-album, 1990’s REM/Ride influenced ‘Fanfare for the Comic Muse’ and ’91’s ‘Europop’ E.P. then split up. Neil’s bandmates went to university and Neil returned home.”    —The Divine Comedy