On the City of Florence’s Struggle to Get Back Dante’s Body | Literary Hub

Giovanni Boccaccio’s call for Florence to retrieve Dante’s corpse appears in retrospect to have been primarily an elaborate literary conceit. The city’s abusive treatment and subsequent unworthiness of Dante enabled Boccaccio to fulfill the principal aim of his biography—notably titled a “treatise in praise of Dante”—by casting the poet and his work as “divine.” Later [...]

Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo | The Procession of the Trojan Horse into Troy | NG3319 | National Gallery, London

The Building of the Trojan Horse and The Procession of the Trojan Horse are part of a series illustrating the fall of Troy, an ancient city on the coast of Turkey that was besieged by Greek armies for ten years. The Trojan War was one of the most important events in Greek mythology. According to [...]

“Les Troyens” at the Met by Jacques Barzun | The New Criterion

Berlioz, adapting Virgil, has given us a tale of two cities, both shown to us at first in happy celebration, both ending in disaster; each the scene of a collective and an individual tragedy through faith misplaced. Troy falls through its excessive piety, Carthage is shattered by the love-betrayal of its queen. It is therefore [...]

Italy coronavirus lockdown: Poet Franco Arminio publishes phone number – The Washington Post

The poet was stuck in his house like everybody else in Italy, sleeping too little, buzzed with a sense of emergency and listlessness, and wondering how to fill the time. So over the weekend, he published his cellphone number on social media. He was an "old hypochondriac," he said, and was willing to talk. Anybody [...]

Why we read: the joy of books

There is an ubiquity of apps these days which condense books into snippets or short video/audio presentations. I like the idea. After all, time is the rarest ‘commodity’ in today’s world. (The self quarantine that many of us are currently going through has given us a new sense of the value of personal time.) However, [...]

Paris Review – The Art of Poetry No. 83

Billy Collins has been appointed the new poet laureate by the Library of Congress, now the newest of a distinguished list that among others includes Robert Penn Warren, Joseph Brodsky, Robert Pinsky, and most recently, Stanley Kunitz. Collins’s credentials, despite starting a career as a poet at the late age of forty, are impressive indeed. [...]

Collection Overview | Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature – CURIOSity Digital Collections

In the early 1930s, Milman Parry, a professor of Classics at Harvard, sought to test his theories regarding the composition of the Homeric poems by observing living traditions of oral poetry in then-Yugoslavia. The songs he collected, on phonograph discs and in notebooks, form the core of the Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature. In [...]

Oral Tradition Journal at Harvard University

Oral traditions are creative: they romanticize and sensationalize otherwise mundane events. The memory of a historical but probably minor conflict between the Mycenaeans and Trojans over commercial interests—access to the straits of the Hellespont that connected the Black Sea to the Aegean—evolved over time into an extensive cycle of myth about a ten-year siege of Troy triggered [...]

Paris Review – The Art of Poetry No. 107

In an era when poetry is increasingly compressed to fit our iPhone screens, Nathaniel Mackey has been writing two astonishing long poems—“Mu” and Song of the Andoumboulou—across multiple books for the past thirty-five years. “Mu” and Song of the Andoumboulou are two ongoing sequences beaded with his insights on cosmology, grief, ancestry, migration, and black [...]