“Ivresse” by Pablo Neruda

“Hoy que danza en mi cuerpo la pasión de Paolo
y ebrio de un sueño alegre mi corazón se agita:
hoy que sé la alegría de ser libre y ser solo
como el pistilo de una margarita infinita:

“oh mujer -carne y sueño-, ven a encantarme un poco,
ven a vaciar tus copas de sol en mi camino:
que en mi barco amarillo tiemblen tus senos locos
y ebrios de juventud, que es el más bello vino.

“Es bello porque nosotros lo bebemos
en estos temblorosos vasos de nuestro ser
que nos niegan el goce para que lo gocemos.
Bebamos. Nunca dejemos de beber.

“Nunca, mujer, rayo de luz, pulpa blanca de poma,
suavices la pisada que no te hará sufrir.
Sembremos la llanura antes de arar la loma.
Vivir será primero, después será morir.

“Y después que en la ruta se apaguen nuestras huellas
y en el azul paremos nuestras blancas escalas
-flechas de oro que atajan en vano las estrellas-,
¡oh Francesca, hacia dónde te llevarán mis alas!”

–Pablo Neruda, “Ivresse”, 1904-1973.

Pablo Neruda was a 20th-century Chilean poet. The poem “Ivresse” is a part of The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems, which you can purchase on Amazon.

Dante’s Divine Comedy: A Journey Without End by Ian Thomson (Review)

“None of us today would have heard of Beatrice di Portinari had Dante, Italy’s greatest poet, not decided to retain the suggestive name (“Beatrice” signifies blessings) of a Florentine girl whom he conveniently first met at the age of nine – forms of three represent the Trinity in The Divine Comedy’s innovative terza rima – as his celestial Guide. Beatrice takes over from Virgil. No pagan, however distinguished, may enter Dante’s paradise. Beatrice is the initially reproachful (“What right had you to climb the mountain?”) but eventually redemptive spirit who draws the purified poet into the heart of the eternal rose within which, in the bliss-filled closing lines of The Divine Comedy, Dante himself becomes annihilated and immortalised.” […]    –Miranda Seymour, The Guardian, August 12, 2018

Fritz Koenig, “Paolo und Francesca” (1958)

Among German sculptor Fritz Koenig’s oeuvre one finds a number of works that take inspiration from Dante, particularly mediated through Rodin’s sculpture groups in his Gates of Hell. Below, “Paolo und Francesca” from 1958.

Fritz-Koenig-Paolo-und-Francesca-1958

Photo credit Heinz Theuerkauf (Flickr)

Koenig’s work was celebrated with a retrospective at the Gallerie degli Uffizi in 2018.

Contributed by Jessica Beasley (Florida State University, 2018)

Francesca da Rimini at La Scala, Milan

Francesca-da-Rimini-La-Scala-Milano“15 April-13 May [2018]. This is the first time Francesca da Rimini, inspired by D’ Annunzio’s novel of the same name written in 1901, returns to La Scala in six decades.

“Zandonai’s opera, his most successful, was performed in Turin for the first time in 1914. This new La Scala production is conducted by Fabio Luisi and directed by David Pountney with Maria José Siri in the lead role. Pountney is a British theatre and opera director known for his productions of rarely performed or new works. Teatro alla Scala, Via Filodrammatici 2, www.teatroallascala.org.” — Posted on wantedinmilan.com

“Francesca da Rimini”: Ballet Meets Robotics


Francesca-Da-Rimini-Ballet-Robot-Capture
Francesca da Rimini is an experiment in using a robotically controlled camera to capture ballet. Starring dancers Maria Kochetkova and Joan Boada, Francesca is based on a story from Dante’s Inferno and set to Tchaikovsky’s Francesca Da Rimini. The entire performance was filmed with motion control camera movements designed to synchronize with the dancer’s every step. The camera moves as if operated by a third performer, fluidly orbiting around the two dancers from the intimate perspective of another artist on stage. Using a combination of motion capture, 3D animation, and industrial robotics, Francesca demonstrates how the synthesis of art and technology can bring a new perspective to a classic art form.” — Director of Photography Joe Picard

Director: Tarik Abdel-Gawad
Dancers: Maria Kochetkova & Joan Boada
Choreographer: Yuri Possokhov

To learn more about the project, see the Making-Of film here: Ballet Meets Robotics: The Making of Francesca Da Rimini.

“Compagno di scuola” by Antonello Venditti (1975)

From the 1975 song “Compagno di scuola” by Antonello Venditti:

“E la Divina Commedia, sempre più commedia
al punto che ancora oggi io non so
Antonello-Venditti-Compagno-di-Scuola-Divina-Commediase Dante era un uomo libero, un fallito o un servo di partito, o un servo di partito.
Ma Paolo e Francesca, quelli io me li ricordo bene
perché, ditemi, chi non si è mai innamorato
di quella del primo banco,
la più carina, la più cretina,
cretino tu, che rideva sempre
proprio quando il tuo amore aveva le stesse parole,
gli stessi respiri del libro che leggevi di nascosto
sotto il banco.”

Listen to the song on YouTube.

Lyrics from AngoloTesti.

Contributed by Alessandra Mazzocchi (Florida State University ’19)

Andrew Frisardi, poem (2015)


Retired from Hell, Paolo Says It Was Heaven

Inferno
V

Aroused beside her, I went mute
because my every word was pinned
to shredded semaphores of wind,
and my resistance now was moot.
Her gentleness put on a storm.
Beauty without a stitch of cloth’s
a bonfire crackling with moths.
I rose and tumbled with her form.
She flared. Maybe I seemed depraved
to those who watch the sun’s eclipse
through a glass, darkly, but I caved
in, helpless, when she twitched her hips.
Our favored region was the nether
as we held tight against the weather.

Measure: A Review of Formal Poetry,
 vol. 10, no. 2  (2015)

Valentino Dress at the Met Gala 2016

rachel-mcadams-a8082593-a8f5-492c-a745-1b9a9c7dd859

Rachel McAdams in a gold-beaded Valentino dress with lines from Dante’s Divine Comedy.    —US Magazine, May 2, 2016

Contributed by Donatella Stocchi-Perucchio

“Francesca Says More” by Olena Kalytiak Davis

“that maiden thump was book on floor, butOlena-Kalytiak-Davis-Francesca-Says-More-Dante
does it really matter who kissed who
first or then who decided to go further?
lower? faster? naturally, we took
turns on top. now here, now there, and up
and down… once it started no one even thought to think to stop.
so, we have holes inside our souls,
but mustn’t we begin by filling others’?
god gave us lips and hands and parts
that cannot possibly be saved for prayer. nor by.
i will not name name, claim fame by how well
or who i fucked or why, it happens all the time.
and it’s you, white pilgrim, whom next galehot seeks.

fuck. we didn’t read again for weeks.”

“Francesca Says More,” from The Poem She Didn’t Write and Other Poems by Olena Kalytiak Davis

Of the poem, Dan Chiasson (The New Yorker) comments, “The speaker is a contemporary version of Dante’s tragic heroine Francesca, condemned to suffer in Hell with her lover, Paolo. The form — a form that Dante helped to invent — is the sonnet, here reduced to its rudiments: fourteen lines, a rumor of pentameter, a tart couplet at the close. The poem, one of Davis’s many ‘shattered sonnets,’ as she has called them, draws these lines in order to color outside of them; her small ‘i’ isn’t so much an homage to Cummings as it is a nod to text messages and Gchat, forms of written communication that operate under the conditions of instantaneousness previously reserved for speech. It was reading about the romance of Lancelot and Guinevere, as Dante tells us, that got Francesca in trouble to begin with; it was reading Francesca’s story about the dangers of reading that resulted in the book’s ‘maiden thump’ as it was unceremoniously kicked off the bed and replaced by the book Davis wrote.” — Dan Chiasson, “You and Me Both,” The New Yorker (Dec. 8, 2014)

Contributed by Silvia Valisa (Florida State University)

Paolo and Francesca Bears

paolo-and-francesca-bears“Paolo looks handsome and energetic in a green knitted jumper, with his named embroidered across the front. Francesca looks ‘bella’ in her red knitted jumper, and is delighted that her name is clearly embroidered on the front. Both bears are a wonderful support in the classroom. They bring a real Italian flavour and excitement into school and really adore being with the children.”    —Golden Daffodils