Dante Still Sings… via John Ciardi

June 15, 2011

A terza rima review of a great translation of The Divine Comedy

Midway in life’s journey, my path unclear,
  I got ’round to Dante in fine translation
  by John Ciardi, translator senza peer.
Ciardi had a songsmith’s ear and keen appreciation
  for the lilting Italian that served Alighieri
  so well in narrating his trek of salvation —
a vernacular narration to more widely carry
  Dante’s Trinitarian faith, plus his fey
  socio-political commentary.
Many translations capture his content, and convey
  his visionary Catholic genius, unfurled
  so confidently; and some find the way
to paint the pictures that leave your toenails curled
  in Hell, then Purgatorio and Paradi-
  so, guided by Virgil through the otherworld.
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