August 7, 2022

International poetry project to celebrate Dante chooses the work of Leeds Trinity speakers

TWO professors from Leeds Trinity University have published their poems in an anthology marking the 700th anniversary of the death of Italian poet, writer and philosopher Dante Alighieri.

English lecturers Professor Oz Hardwick and Dr Amina Alyal have been selected from a group of 70 poets from around the world to contribute to the Divining Dante anthology, based on Dante’s famous Divine Comedy trilogy – completed in 1320, a year before the poet’s death.

Professor Hardwick and Dr Alyal were invited to submit three poems – one for each of the three Divine Comedy books; Inferno (Hell), Purgatorio (Purgatory) and Paradiso (Heaven / Heaven).

One submission from each poet was selected for the book, which was published by Recent Work Press. Professor Hardwick’s Statius Purgatorio 21 / XXI and Dr Alyal’s On the Verge – both based on the Divine Comedy’s second book, Purgatorio – have been included.

The anthology was followed by an online publication that contains all the poems written, as well as a series of embedded videos from some of the contributors reading their work, including Professor Hardwick.

Professor Hardwick, MA Creative Writing Program Manager, said: “Amina and I are interested in Divine Comedy as poets and scholars. I have published extensively on medieval art and literature and the milieu that gave birth to Dante’s work, while Amina is interested in the Italian influence on Renaissance poetry and theater.

“The comedy itself is extremely complex in its allusions to earlier literature, culture, politics and religion, but ultimately traces a journey from darkness to light. This makes it an ideal starting point for exploring our own complex – and somewhat dark – era, with one eye always on the glimmer of light that awaits us. ”

Dr Alyal said: “I have a particular interest in Dante’s Divine Comedy, so to be invited to contribute to an anthology in his memory, among so many other fantastic poets, has been a huge honor.”

The Divine Comedy is a long narrative Italian poem that deals with the state of the soul after death and describes Dante’s journeys through Hell, Purgatory and Heaven.

Professor Hardwick and Dr Alyal also wrote a collaborative response to Dante’s Purgatorio, titled The Still and Fleeting Fire, due for publication later this year by Hedgehog Poetry Press.

Dante’s Divine Comedy is considered one of the greatest literary works in the world.