Sante Matteo, “The Journey Home in Baseball: The Bible and the Divine Comedy” (2020)

“In the middle of of our industrialized cities, surrounded by concrete, metal, and plastic structures, baseball parks enclose a green field, a vestigial ‘paradise’ in the original Persian sense of the word.  Within that symbolic space a ritual is routinely performed.  Throngs of worshippers (spectators, fans) participate vicariously while members of a revered priestly class (players, coaches, and umpires) re-enact the story of humanity’s exile from Eden and the perennial longing to return there: to make it all the way around back to home base.

“Circling the bases—itself an expression redolent of another perennial quixotic human quest: that of squaring the circle; or inversely in this case, circling the square: the bases forming a square, or diamond, that the base runner circles–and reaching home constitutes a journey analogous to the one that Dante undertakes in his Divine Comedy.  Finding himself lost in a dark wood, Dante sets off–with Virgil and then Beatrice as his first- and third-base ‘coaches’–on a voyage that will take him first through the circles of Hell (first base),  then the slopes of Purgatory (second base), and then the planetary and starry spheres of Paradise (third base), all the way to the Empyrean (home plate), where the souls that have achieved salvation dwell in the presence of God.” [. . .]  — Sante Matteo, “The Journey Home in Baseball: The Bible and the Divine Comedy,” KAIROS Literary Magazine, May 1, 2020

Contributed by Sante Matteo (Miami University, OH)

Cheryl Sorg’s Nine Circles of Hell

Dante’s Inferno, cut apart line by line and assembled in readable order with clear tape onto a series of nine plexi circles approximately 20 inches in diameter and mounted onto a floor-to-ceiling height clear plexi road going through the centers of the discs.”    –Cheryl Sorg, from her website, 2019.

Cheryl Sorg is an artist from Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently based in Boston. She specializes in street art, collages, tape drawings, and photography, among other mediums.

To view more of Sorg’s artwork, you can visit her website.

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”

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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.

Dante’s Inferno in Cleveland (the Indians’ baseball stadium)

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Contributed by Eric Goldwyn (Bowdoin, ’02)

Dante in Cleveland, OH

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“Enjoy Michelin- Starred Chef Dante Boccuzzi’s signature restaurant DANTE, one of Cleveland’s premier dining destinations.”    —Restaurant Dante