I might have posted here that I wrote something comparing James Joyce’s story “Grace” to O’Connor’s “The River.” Both stories use Dante’s Inferno as a sub-structure. Last night we eavesdropped on Angela Alaimo O’Donnell’s reading “Talking Back to Dante,” poems written for– about–of– Dante’s Divine Comedy. The professor has done it again. In Andalusian Hours, Angela spoke in Flannery’s voice like Madam Blavatsky at a seance (but with more authenticity because her affection for the spirit, a fraud couldn’t conjure). Last night, reading eight or ten of her poems drawn from the Divine Comedy she showed a variety of poetic styles and voices different than her treatment of Flannery but exhibiting that same dedication for her subject. Collectively, the poems show the relevance of Dante for modernity but also inspect his credentials for passage to this millennium.
My friend Cathy wanted to undertake an academic reading of Dante before listening to “Talking Back to Dante.” There is no stopping her now. That’s a good result; were it not for those leaps, I would only read Batman and eat cookies [Flannery would say “read THE Batman and eat Scotch Oatmeal cookies.”]Now we are afire like Inferno. Thanks to Alighieri and Alaimo O’Donnell.
Hoping there is a book of verse ascending from the collection.