Tuesday, June 04, 2013

News at Eleven: I'd suggest impertinently [Clive] James

has another, powerfully personal credential. His feeling for Dante is surely given extra force by his own present predicament: exiled by illness from his homeland--the subject of many recent fine poems--and lost in the uncertain woods of that illness.

Formalities first. How do you solve a problem such as terza rima? James comes up with a radically original idea: he chooses rhyming quatrains to replace the tercets. It makes for a longer poem, but if [Robert] Pinsky can shorten it, why not? Especially when there is no sense of the verses being longer. The poem flows magnificently, if less in Jacoff's waltz time than a mix of tango and quickstep.

from The Australian: Clive James's translation of Dante is simply divine


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