“In 1972, glass ceased to have its own section at the Venice Biennale, when the inclusion of what were considered ‘decorative arts’ was abandoned. But at this year’s event, glass has made a comeback in two separate shows: ‘Glasstress,’ an official parallel exhibition at Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti on the Grand Canal, and ‘Fa come natura fece in foco,’ which borrows a line from Dante’s Divine Comedy (‘Do as nature does in the flame’) [Paradiso IV, 59] to evoke the fiery glass furnaces of Murano, at the Padiglione Venezia in the Biennale’s Castello Gardens (both until Nov. 22).” [. . .] –Roderick Conway Morris, The New York Times, August 7, 2009
“This mammoth new volume from Australia’s Kinsella (Doppler Effect) takes its template and three-line stanza from the three books of Dante’s epic, out of order: first Purgatorio, then Paradiso, then Inferno. Each of the three works, made from dozens of separate poems, joins allusions to Dante with sights, events and memories from Kinsella’s Australia, especially the farming region outside Perth, where he grew up and sometimes lives. The poet’s wife, Tracy (his Beatrice, he says), and their toddler, Tim, play roles throughout. Mostly, though, the poems concern places, not people; their ground note is ecological, with nature taking many forms (locust wings… at sunrise over shallow farm-dams steaming already) set against the ballast/ of cars and infrastructures that endangers it all. That motif of eco-protest dominates the Inferno (last blocks of bushland// cleared away to placate the hunger/ for the Australian Dream), but it turns up in all three of these (perhaps too similar, and surely too long) sequences. Like his compatriot Les Murray, Kinsella can sound uncontrolled, even sloppy. Yet he can turn a phrase (Who describes where we are without thinking/ of when we’ll leave it?). Moreover, he means all he says and never exhausts his ideas or ambition.” –Publisher’s Weekly, Amazon
Contributed by Aisha Woodward (Bowdoin, ’08)
Difficult to see, but the “Tuscany per donna” has as its slogan in French “Out of that stream there issued living sparks” (Par. XXX.64) and in English, “It draws fire to the moon” (Par. I.115). The “Tuscany per uomo” has as its slogan, “It moves the sun and the other stars” (last verse of Paradiso).
Contributed by Guy Raffa (University of Texas, Austin)