|Highlights of Poetry. Index of poetry. How to Write Poetry. Books read.|
How to write specific forms:
Haibun. Haiku. Hay(na)ku. Rengay. Tanka.
Ballade. Concrete. Ghazal. Lai. Pantoum. Prose poem. Rondeau. Rubáiyát.
Sestina. Skaldic verse. Sonnet. Terza rima. Triolet. Tritina. Villanelle.
The Beowulf Poet.
Billy Collins exercise.
Snorri's Edda. Carl Dennis. Charles Atkinson. Corey Marks. Dante. English Romantic Poets.
François Villon Franz Wright. Galway Kinnell. Gary Young. The Gawain Poet.
Jack Gilbert. Jane Hirshfield. J. Zimmerman. J. Zimmerman (haiku). Jorie Graham. Karen Braucher. Karl Shapiro. Kay Ryan.
Laureate Poets: Britain; USA.
Louise Glück. Len Anderson. Li-Young Lee. Linda Pastan. Nordic Skalds. Pulitzer Poetry Prize (U.S.A).
Richard Hugo. Robert Bly. Sara Teasdale. Shiki (haiku). Snorri's Edda. Stephen Dunn. Ted Kooser. W.S. Merwin.
Translations into English of Dante's The Divine Comedy, ranked with most recent translation at the top:
|Translator||Public'n year||Books||Format||Lines capitalized||Language||Footnotes or Alteration of text||Lines in canto 1||Header/ footer||My impression|
|Clive James||2013||All three||Rhymed quatrains (ABAB) without stanza breaks.||Always.||Often clumsy. Includes hackneyed expressions, reversal of normal word order, and the inserting superfluous words (especially adverbs or adjectives); this is particularly annoying when included for his rhyme scheme.||Adds material to the poem (instead of putting it into footnotes) claiming it will help the reader.||173||The book — one of three. (I would prefer to also know the Canto.)||The monoliths of poetry are hard to read with every line capitalized and without stanza breaks.|
|Ciaran Carson||2002||The first||In terza rima crossed with ballad. [p. xxi]||Only when needed by grammar.||Reads well except when its temporarily modern slang intrudes.||52 pages of end-notes.||136||Which canto.||Easy to grasp with the aid of its stanza breaks, line indentation, and no line capitalized unless required by grammar.|
|Robert Pinsky||1992||The first||In terza rima||Always.||51 pages of end-notes.||109||Which canto.|
|1954-1970||All three||Rhymed tercets (ABA) with stanza breaks.||Only when needed by grammar.||Reads well. The language is natural being neither awkwardly posh nor arduously slangy. The most poetic of the translations read so far.||Helpful footnotes at the end of each of the 100 cantos (on average about two pages per canto).||128||The book — one of three. (I would prefer to also know the Canto.)||Easy to read, helped by its stanza breaks, line indentations, and capitalization of a line unless required by grammar.|
|Dante's original Italian||Early 14th century (1300-1321)||All three||Terza rima without stanza breaks.||Only when needed by grammar.||—||136 (See Pinsky's bilingual version)||—||I wish I read Italian fluently!|
Buy Clive James' 2013 translation
of Dante's 'Comedy'
Its opening third, The Inferno,
|Dante's overt rhyme scheme is only the initial framework by which the verse structure moves forward. Within the terzina, ... Dante is the greatest exemplar in literary history of the principle ... that good poetry does not just rhyme at the end of the lines, it rhymes all along the line. [p. xiv]|
|For this project, if the quatrains could be augmented with extra lines whenever the occasion demanded or opportunity offered, it would yield the ideal combination of strictness and ease. [p. xviii]|
|The reservoir of material at the foot of the page of a scholarly text (sometimes there are five lines of text and fifty of apparatus) provides the translator of the poem with an ideal opportunity to upload salient facts into the verse narrative and make things clear. ... In numerous instances I felt justified in lifting it out of the basement and putting it on display in the text. [pp. xix - x]|
|As to my chosen stanza form, ... The form is a quatrain, either simple or augmented, and any augmentation uses the same rhymes, so abab might grow to ababa or ababab or sometimes more. The aim is an easy-seeming outward flow, except at the end of a canto, where a couplet closes the action with a snap. [p. xxiv]|
|When I began looking into the Inferno, it occurred to me that the measures and assonances of the Hiberno-English ballad might prove a model for translation. It would allow for some extravagant alliteration, for periphrasis and inversion to accommodate rhyme, and for occasional assonance instead of rhyme; it could accommodate rapid shifts of register. So I tried to write a terza rima crossed with a ballad. [p. xxi]|
Buy John Ciardi's translation
of Dante's 'Comedy'
Some quotations from his seven-page Translator's Note:
In looking at other translations I was distressed by the fact that none
of them seemed to be using what I understood to be Dante's vulgate.
They seemed rather to fall into literary language, the very sort of thing
Dante took pains to avoid...
I began to experiment out of curiosity. I rendered a number of Cantos in terza rima and satisfied myself that it could not do ... I tried blank verse. But there the language and it movement went askew on another characteristic of English verse ... blank verse pauses to complete its sub-thoughts about once every fourteen lines. But Dante sets his pauses ... every three lines, and I take that fact to be, above all else, what determines the pace and sparseness of Dante's writing. [p. xxi]
Biography of Dante Alighieri. Very informative.
|It is the Comedy that directs our attention to all the rest. And yet ... it is clear that when he undertook them, the other works were in his eyes not 'minor' in any sense at all. All of them are marked by the signs of his considerable excitement at assuming a new role in the nascent history of Italian letters, whether as a poet or commentator, apologist or polemicist. And each of them begins either with an unblushing announcement of its importance (Convivio, De vulgari Eloquentia, Monarchia) or with an absorbed self-awareness that has a similar effect (Vita nuova).|
Three separate books, one for each of the three sections:
Helpful to review after reading Dante's Divine Comedy. Includes:
Much information gleaned from Robert Hollander's Dante.
|Links. On How to Write Poetry. Poetry - Learn How to Write Your Own.|
|Copyright © 2007-2016 by J. Zimmerman (except for quotations).|
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