Donna Distefano’s “The Love That Moves the Sun and the Other Stars” Ring

“I created a one-of-a-kind ring inspired by Dante’s The Divine Comedy, Paradiso, Canto 33, The Final Vision. I’ve studied The Divine Comedy in both English and Italian and have always loved the way the poem combines so many seemingly disparate elements: mythology, realism, love, judgment, geometry, and astronomy to name a few. In Canto 33, Dante faces God and sees ‘the Love that moves the sun and the other stars.’ It is the moment when his life on earth intersects with his life outside of this earth.”   –Donna Distefano

The ring, which features pieces of actual meteorite, was featured in the exhibit “Out of this World: Jewelry in the Space Age” at the Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, Georgia (November 7, 2020 – October 24, 2021). In Style magazine did a piece on it, too (see image below).

See also our previous post on Distefano’s “Elixir of Love” ring.

Contributed by Donna Distefano

Martha Beck, The Way of Integrity (2021)

“In The Way of Integrity, Beck presents a four-stage process that anyone can use to find integrity, and with it, a sense of purpose, emotional healing, and a life free of mental suffering. Much of what plagues us—people pleasing, staying in stale relationships, negative habits—all point to what happens when we are out of touch with what truly makes us feel whole.

“Inspired by The Divine Comedy, Beck uses Dante’s classic hero’s journey as a framework to break down the process of attaining personal integrity into small, manageable steps. She shows how to read our internal signals that lead us towards our true path, and to recognize what we actually yearn for versus what our culture sells us.

“With techniques tested on hundreds of her clients, Beck brings her expertise as a social scientist, life coach and human being to help readers to uncover what integrity looks like in their own lives. She takes us on a spiritual adventure that not only will change the direction of our lives, but bring us to a place of genuine happiness.”   —marthabeck.com

Adam Roberts, Purgatory Mount (2021)

“An interstellar craft is decelerating after its century-long voyage. Its destination is V538 Aurigae, a now-empty planet dominated by one gigantic megastructure, a conical mountain of such height that its summit is high above the atmosphere. The ship’s crew of five hope to discover how the long-departed builders made such a colossal thing, and why: a space elevator? a temple? a work of art? Its resemblance to the mountain of purgatory lead the crew to call this world Dante.

“In our near future, the United States is falling apart. A neurotoxin has interfered with the memory function of many of the population, leaving them reliant on their phones as makeshift memory prostheses. But life goes on. For Ottoline Barragão, a regular kid juggling school and her friends and her beehives in the back garden, things are about to get very dangerous, chased across the north-east by competing groups, each willing to do whatever it takes to get inside Ottoline’s private network and recover the secret inside.

“Purgatory Mount, Adam Roberts’s first SF novel for three years, combines wry space opera and a fast-paced thriller in equal measure. It is a novel about memory and atonement, about exploration and passion, and like all of Roberts’s novels it’s not quite like anything else.”    —Amazon

Seth Steinzor, In Dante’s Wake (3 volumes)

In Dante’s Wake is a journey in poetry through the moral universe, from blinkered evil to heaven’s networks by way of the muddled-up places in between.

“Once Was Lost, the third and final volume of the trilogy, finds heaven on a North Atlantic beach, beginning with a breakfast of fried claims at sunrise, moving through encounters with people whose lives have been a blessing to humanity, and ending in a series of visions of psychedelic strangeness and power.”   —Seth Steinzor’s Website

Fomite Press published Steinzor’s Once Was Lost on June 18, 2021. Each of the three volumes of In Dante’s Wake revisits one canticle of Dante’s CommediaTo Join the Lost (Hell), Among the Lost (Purgatory), and Once Was Lost (Paradise). See our previous post of Steinzor’s To Join the Lost here.

Contributed by Seth Steinzor

Garry Wills, “The Bishops Are Wrong About Biden—and Abortion” (June 27, 2021)

“What is the worst crime a society can commit? Some people (I among them) would say the Holocaust, the cold methodical murder of six million people just for being Jews.

“But some Catholics and evangelicals say they know of an even greater crime — the deliberate killing of untold millions of unborn babies by abortion. They have determined that a fetus is a person and abortion is therefore murder. This is a crime of such magnitude that some Catholic bishops are trying to deny the reception of Holy Communion by the president of the United States for not working to prevent it.

“No one told Dante that this was the worst crime, or he would have put abortionists, not Judas, in the deepest frozen depths of his Inferno. But in fact he does not put abortionists anywhere in the eight fiery tiers above the deepest one of his Hell.” [. . .]   –Garry Wills, “The Bishops Are Wrong About Biden—and Abortion,” New York Times (June 27, 2021)

Read the rest of Wills’s opinion piece at the New York Times.

See also this response to Wills’s essay in The National Review, which includes an extended discussion of Dante and his era.

Contributed by Hilary Barnes (Widener University)

Dinty W. Moore, To Hell With It: Of Sin and Sex, Chicken Wings, and Dante’s Entirely Ridiculous, Needlessly Guilt-Inducing Inferno (2021)

“Dante published his ambitious and unusual poem, Divine Comedy, more than seven hundred years ago. In the ensuing centuries countless retellings, innumerable adaptations, tens of thousands of fiery sermons from Catholic bishops and Baptist preachers, all those New Yorker cartoons, and masterpieces of European art have afforded Dante’s fictional apparition of hell unending attention and credibility. Dinty W. Moore did not buy in.

“Moore started questioning religion at a young age, quizzing the nuns in his Catholic school, and has been questioning it ever since. Yet after years of Catholic school, religious guilt, and persistent cultural conditioning, Moore still can’t shake the feelings of inadequacy, and asks: What would the world be like if eternal damnation was not hanging constantly over our sheepish heads? Why do we persist in believing a myth that merely makes us miserable? In To Hell with It, Moore reflects on and pokes fun at the over-seriousness of religion in various texts, combining narratives of his everyday life, reflections on his childhood, and religion’s influence on contemporary culture and society.”   —University of Nebraska Press

Leonard Kress, “That Day We Read No More” (2019)

A vengeful sheering Great Lakes wind,
uprooting trees, flinging roof shingles—
split stumps and flayed branches. A whole dangle
of modifiers. Infinitives finding
syntax amid the wreckage. I can almost
make out the spoken scrawl, part malignant rant,
and part avowal, part warning and part advance
directive. Yet what I hear most is boast

when winds subside: Love led me to betray,
and the agony that betrayal once begot
afflicts me now, like you, who’ll stay
to hear my tale. You, like me, who sought
to authorize illicit love—you’re doomed
like some obsessive-compulsive, forever caught

in the act of betrayal. Forever damned.
Give me details, I demand, hoping
our stories do not match. There’s no stopping,
she says—Francesca, mother, who charmed
Paolo with her quizzing glance. I asked
my would-be lover to admit out loud
with certain sighs he wanted me. He held
his breath long as he could. And then, unmasked,

indifference and restraint abandoned, distance
obliterated—we agreed to read
together the tale of Lancelot’s romance
with his King’s wife Guinevere, and the bed
in which they found delight. That pleasure is
now pain—in inverse proportion to the deed.

Leonard Kress’s poem “That Day We Read No More,” a rewriting of Inferno 5, was published in The Orpheus Complex by Main Street Rag Press in 2009. It is available for purchase on the Main Street Rag website. The poem was featured in NonBinary Review #19, a 2019 collection of poems dedicated to Dante’s Inferno, available from Zoetic Press. Many thanks to the author for permission to publish the poem on Dante Today.

Deborah DeNicola, “The Big Enigma” (2021)

“The Big Enigma” is a poem included in the collection The Impossible by Deborah DeNicola, published by Kelsay Books in 2021. Of the inspiration for the poem, DeNicola explains, “In the end of the Inferno, there are souls under the ice. Only their faces are visible and they cry tears that freeze and poke them in the eyes. My poem references this because it is about a heart break that was very hard to get over. I never knew why this person madly loved me for quite a while and then went cold. And more to the point, I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get over it for a long, long time, hence, the title ‘The Big Enigma’ and the reference to torment” (DeNicola, in a personal email communication).

The Impossible is available for purchase on Amazon. Our thanks to the author for permission to reprint.

Deborah DeNicola, “Desire with Mountain and Dante” (2010)

Deborah-De-Nicola-Desire-With-Mountain-and-Dante-Full-Text

Deborah DeNicola’s poem “Desire with Mountain and Dante” was published in the collection Original Human in 2010. In a personal email communication, DeNicola recounts, “I am an east-coast person and I was in Seattle and Mt. Rainier was in the distance. I had not been in a relationship for several years and was aware of my own ‘desire without an object of desire,’ as Wallace Stevens puts it. I had been teaching The Inferno so Dante was on my mind.”

Original Human can be purchased at Amazon. Many thanks to the author for permission to reprint the poem.

“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.