“Perhaps confessions by poets, of what Dante has meant to them, may even contribute something to the appreciation of Dante himself.”
-T. S. Eliot
The great fourteenth-century poet has been an unequaled influence on many writers in the twentieth century, whose “confessions” may well foster a deeper appreciation of Dante. Previously published essays by some of this century’s most renowned poets-Pound, Eliot, Mandelstam, Robert Fitzgerald, Borges, Merrill, Montale, Lowell, Duncan, Auden, Yeats, Charles Williams, Nemerov, Heaney-join new essays commissioned by the editors. Contemporary poets Mary Campbell, W. S. Di Piero, J. D. McClatchy, W. S. Merwin, Robert Pinsky, Rosanna Warren, Alan Williamson, and Charles Wright reflect on Dante as well as on their own complex (and often contentious) relationship to his legacy. Their engagement with his work offers a fresh perspective on the Commedia and its author that more academic writing does not provide.
As the editors write, a new consideration of Dante “should generate insights not only about his work but also about poetry written in our own language and time.