“Dante learns a great many things about the metaphysical world, but this blog post is mostly concerned with the temperature of the 9th circle of hell. For those who haven’t read it, this circle is not a fire pit with little devils poking bare-bummed sinners with pitch forks. It’s frozen solid, and at the very epicenter, Satan is frozen mid-waist, eternally munching on Brutus, Cassius, and Judas in his three mouths. It’s pretty gruesome but not unlike what’s going on in San Francisco this winter.” [. . .] —Snotting Black, January 15, 2013
Lines & Faces by Robert Woods and Alan Bern (2021)
“Lines & Faces, the collaboration of artist/printer Robert Woods and writer/translator Alan Bern, is engaged in a project based on Dante’s Commedia: illustrated broadsides available to view at linesandfaces.com/divine-comedy. In these broadsides we attempt to capture and respond to central moments within Dante’s canti. As a poet and translator, Alan enjoys responding to Robert’s images in both our Dante work and in other projects (also available on our website, linesandfaces.com). At other times Robert responds to Alan’s words. We also work on parallel tracks and combine our work successfully. All three modes function very well after almost fifty years of producing broadsides together.
“In working to capture these Dante moments, we operate in a mode similar to that of haiku writers and haiga artists. Robert and Alan decide together on small sections of Dante and respond to them: Alan translates them into poetry (the middle panels), and then he creates a modern association to his work (the third panels). Robert creates a graphic work that illuminates the chosen moment,and he pulls all the elements together with his broadside design.” –Alan Bern, in private email communication
View the broadsides here. Pictured above is their collaborative depiction of Inferno 5.
In addition to their illustrations and translations from the Commedia we invite Dante Today readers to check out Bern’s translation of Dante’s sestina Al poco giorno e al gran cerchio d’ombra with an accompanying image from Woods.
Contributed by Alan Bern
“Dante’s Inferno: Can Pettis Reignite His 49ers Career?”
“For some, failure fuels the fire. 49ers WR Dante Pettis has been accustomed to failure as of late. Dennis Waitley once said, ‘Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end.’
“49ers WR Dante Pettis has become accustomed to failure as of late. Though Pettis’ team was incredibly successful in 2019, Pettis’ contributions towards that success were mostly unnoticeable. Once a highly touted 2nd-round draft pick, Pettis found himself slotted to be a starting WR for the 49ers heading into the 2019 season.” –Gilbert Brink, 49ers Webzone, 2020
Read the full article here.
“A White Canon in a World of Color,” by Sierra Lomuto
“I was recently in my hometown of San Francisco, walking through the Mission district on Christmas Eve looking for a place to pop into and get some work done. I had some grading to finish for my Chaucer class. I worked for a bit in a café at Valencia and 24th St. But when it closed early at 4pm, because of the holiday, I made my way toward the local library a couple blocks away.
[. . .]
“Wrapped around the face of the building were etchings of names, six per column, and the first read: Homer, Virgil, Rabelais, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dante. My eyes followed the carved words around to the side where they ended, each name digging a pit deeper into my stomach. Here I was, in the heart of the Mission, a Latinx neighborhood for as long as most San Franciscans’ memories can reach back to, and a building that is meant to represent knowledge, learning, community, safety. . . is encased with the names of white men. I wanted this old stone building, this old library in the Mission, to offer me some solace amidst a devastating present, to remind me that knowledge, education, and learning are paths out of socio-economic oppression.
“Instead, it reminded me that those paths too often lead us toward our own epistemological oppression—and do too little for the places and people we came from. The façade of the Mission library reminded me that those paths belong to white men; the rest of us merely walk them. [. . .]” –Sierra Lomuto, “A White Canon in a World of Color,” Medievalists of Color (March 26, 2019)
Inferno at San Francisco’s Gray Area Festival
“I’m in the middle of the dance floor. The strobe lights above me are popping in time with the thundering kick drums and violent synth-bass rolling out of the speakers at 110 beats per minute. I’m shuffling to the rhythms, but I’m only able to control the lower half of my body. All of my movements from the waist up are being dictated by an exoskeleton strapped onto my trunk like a jacket.
“My arms jerk up and down and twist from side to side with the beat, but my own muscles aren’t doing the work; my flesh is being pushed around in space by the 45 pounds of metal, cable, and hydraulic cylinders running across my shoulders and down my arms. A robot is making me dance.” [. . .]
“The dance show, titled Inferno, is meant to be an experiential representation of hell, and I suppose it is, just maybe more fun. Inferno has been touring the world for a couple of years, and it made its US premiere in San Francisco this past weekend at the Gray Area Festival.” [. . .] –Michael Calore, Wired, July 30, 2019.
Read more about Inferno and the Gray Area Festival on Wired.
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