Group Exhibition of Dante Portraits (2021)

Riccardo Guasco

A group exhibition organized in Ravenna with the support of the Italian Consulate of Houston (TX) and the Istituto Italiano di Cultura of Los Angeles (CA) showcasing over 40 contemporary artists’ depictions of Dante.  The exhibition is titled “Drawing Dante: Uno, nessuno e centomila volti: Retrospective group exhibition” by Dante Plus.  A virtual tour can be seen on youtube here.  There is also an instagram feed of the portraits.

Contributed by Kate McKee (Bowdoin ’22)

 

“Dante’s Inferno and Governor Good Hair”

“Dante wrote his famous work in a day when pundits could not openly attack the powers that be in columns such as this for fear of their lives.  Well thanks to the First Amendment of the Constitution I’m somewhat protected in what I can say about our contemporary politicians.  I’m somewhat limited because I cannot defame or slander anyone; I can, however, make fun of them as I describe their foibles and fumblings.

“Anyway, I digress.  Dante wrote his very descriptive poem describing Hell (The Inferno) as being constructed of many layers.  The lower you descended the worse the conditions were.  The sinner who passed away was assigned to the specific layer reserved for those with similar sins and the worse the sins the lower the level.

“Interestingly enough Dante placed politicians in the lowest levels where those who lied, committed treachery, fraud and treason against the state.  I couldn’t figure where Governor Good Hair exactly belonged because he has been guilty of so many infractions.  So, I stuck him in both levels.”   —Mary Mata, News Taco, 2014

Read the full article here.

“6 Downtown Dallas Museums Unveil Plans to Reopen After COVID-19 Shutdown”

“All exhibitions that were on display when the museum closed have been extended, and the special exhibition For a Dreamer of Houses, which was to have opened on March 15, will be available for view with the purchase of an additional ticket. It will now remain on view until July 4, 2021. Also opening on August 14 will be Dalí’s Divine Comedy, which showcases selections from Salvador Dalí’s most ambitious illustrated series: his colored wood engravings of the Divine Comedy.”    –Alex Bentley, CultureMap, August 10, 2020

Ocean Vuong, “Seventh Circle of Earth” (2016)

“I wrote ‘Seventh Circle of Earth’ [from Vuong’s 2016 collection Night Sky with Exit Wounds] shortly after hearing the news of two gay men being murdered by immolation in Dallas, TX. I originally wrote the poem in tercets, echoing Dante’s terza rima format. In the Inferno, the stanzas work as a network of rooms the speaker moves through as he descends through the circles of hell. In ‘Seventh Circle of Earth,’ however, this grouping felt off, even fraudulent, to me. A persona poem at its core, it takes on the voice of one of the men speaking to his partner. And in the midst of that fraught position, a poem in tercets, or, in other words, a ‘traditional’ poem, felt like a diluted, forced recasting of a horrific event. I ultimately abandoned the poem.

“It was not until three years later, while reading a critical work on violence and scholarship, did I see, more clearly, the footnotes on the bottom of the page. I found myself slipping right to the notes as I progressed, reading them first. They possessed, in that reading, an urgency that began to stitch itself into a fabric of broken utterances fused together by parataxis. It was, in a way, found poetry. That gave me the idea to re-work ‘Seventh Circle of Earth’ into a piece written entirely in the footnote. This time, the vast and utter emptiness one confronts on the page felt more faithful to the violent erasure of the two murdered men. It felt right to begin the poem with its own vanishing.” [. . .]  — Ocean Vuong on “Seventh Circle of Earth” for Poetry School

Read the rest of Vuong’s comments and the poem at poetryschool.com.

Contributed by Su Ertekin-Taner (The Bolles School ’22)

The 9 Circles of Beaumont Hell – and Who You’ll Meet There

“The Italian poet Dante Alighieri was kind of a twisted dude. His 14th-century opus, the Divine Comedy, led readers into the depths of a nine-layer hell filled with flaming tombs, rivers of boiling blood and giant worm-monsters. He spent plenty of time in the Inferno, the first part of the Divine Comedy, outlining all the sins that can get you a one-way ticket to Satan’s inner circle. But by 2014, a lot of those sins feel pretty out-of-date — we stopped burning heretics at the stake a while back, and I’m not even sure that simony is still a thing.

“With Dante’s colorful imagery in mind, I updated and localized his nine circles of hell as a reminder to Southeast Texans that if you’re not going to be polite because it’s the right thing to do, at least be polite to avoid retribution in the afterlife.” […]    –Beth Rankin, Beaumont Enterprise, December 6, 2014

Dante’s Inferno Razor

dantes-inferno-razor“This is a job from a couple months ago. This was one of the most intense themes I have done. Tons of details in very small places. The theme was Dante’s Inferno and the images are based on Dore’s illustrations for the book. The toughest part was that I had to alter the images to make them fit the format of the windows. I had to make the altered images still recognizable as the classic Dore illustrations.
The ‘frames’ are sculpted and the images are bulino engraved. The scenes on the hidden panels were also bulino engraved. The knife was made by Joe Kious of Kerrville, TX.”    —Straight Razor Place, December 14, 2011

Contributed by David Israel

“Dante: Inferno” a Play by Alejandro de la Costa (2008)

dante-inferno-a-play-by-alejandro-de-la-costa-2008“MBS Productions will be presenting the world premiere of Dante: Inferno from April 10 – May 3, yet they still haven’t found the right actor to play Dante. . .
The play contains adult themes and nudity (not required for the role of Dante). The show is currently in rehearsals and auditions will be held Tuesday-Thursday, March 11-13.”    –Shawn Parikh, Pegasus News, March 11, 2008

“Marching Owl Band Drops the D-Bomb on Todd Graham”

marching-owl-band-drops-the-d-bomb-on-todd-graham“TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa has filed a formal complaint with Conference USA over the Rice marching band’s performance of ‘Todd Graham’s Inferno’ during halftime of Saturday’s football game in Houston. Graham left Rice for Tulsa after just one season… The band’s show depicted a search for the former Owls coach through different circles of Hell, based on Dante’s Divine Comedy.” [. . .]    –Matt Hinton, Sunday Morning QB, November 27, 2007

Contributed by George Trone