IF YOU LOVE THE DIVINE COMEDY: READ ON
A friend is organizing this incredible event, you may want to be part of.
Anyone interested in taking part in readings from The Divine Comedy in St. Augustine’s Church in Park Slope Brooklyn.
The date is May 6, A Sunday at 4pm.
If you are interested in reading — please let me know. If you are game for this exciting poetry event, think about what you’d like to read, and get back to me pronto.
Any section of the Divine Comedy will be fine. Suggested dose: one canto — or less. Even a few tercets is fine… so long as it’s from Inferno, Purgatorio or Paradiso.
It’s important that you let me know what you’ll to read soon (Let’s say by April 3) so that I can make a program and so that we don’t wind up doubling up.
We’ll set up a microphone for the reading but if your voice is big, it’s more exciting without.
If you want to read but need some help choosing, let me know and I will (carefully) make some suggestions. There’s really no dead weight, space or air at all in The Divine Comedy; every line is a wonder. You don’t need to have read Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso to be qualified for this. You do need to skim parts of one of them, find a piece that interests you and practice reading it with feeling.
The consensus among my experts is that the Hollander translations (Inferno and Purgatorio) are the best — but their Paradiso isn’t out yet, I don’t think. (??) Each translation has its strengths… I was thrilled reading Longfellow’s Paradise last night and loving it… even the prose one can sound good. There’s tons of Dante on line.
If you read Italian and want to read the Italian in the reading, that would be great! If you want to figure out a strategy for presenting Italian and English, that would be exciting. If you are a poet and want to take a shot at translating some yourself, that’s always good. (I’m taking a stab at translating some Paradiso. Don’t know whether it will work.)
The church is a very beautiful European-feeling landmark church, built by the legendary Parfitt Brothers, a Gothic min-cathedral with Romanesque features, built in 1886: Comfort/Tiffany glass, a double apse! (rare in US churches). There’s a lot of scaffolding and shedding around then outside because its clock tower and external stone work is undergoing a major restoration. It’s a European-feeling church.
If you want to present some Dante translated into another language than the original or English, that would be great.
With all non-English readings, it will be important to let me know so that I can try to have some English available.
I’m happy having readers join in at the llth hour if there‘s room in the program at that point.
I hope the thing will run about an hour and a half and to have a party after at my
for everyone at the reading. I’ll set a table up and draft a couple of kids to sell your books.
If you want to get a sense of why and how people do this, there’s a reading of Inferno every year at St. John the Divine in NYC uptown 110 street. I’ve never been. But I may go this year.