Almost seven hundred years ago Dante Alieghieri took us on a terrifying and mesmerizing journey through the nine circles of hell. He could never have predicted that today, in that same poem, the sin of gluttony would be represented by the South Park Character Eric Cartman. This isn’t a joke, but a way of modernizing Dante’s epic, and of showing that it still speaks to us as a serious work of art. On this episode of WHY?, we’re going to take our own journey, not through hell, but through the nature and limits of poetry, of what it means, and how it speaks to us
Mary Jo Bang is a poet, translator, and professor of English at Washington University in Saint Louis. She is the author of six books of poems and a a new translation of Dante’s Inferno.
This episode was recorded at the University of 2013
University of North Dakota Writers Conference
. WHY? thanks the Conference, its organizers, and funders for allowing us to interview one of their invitees.