Award-winning poet Mary Jo Bang has created an idiomatically rich contemporary version of Dante’s Inferno that is accessible, musical, and audacious. In her translation, and in her wide-ranging textual notes, she has matched Dante’s own liberal use of allusion and literary borrowing by incorporating references familiar to contemporary readers: Shakespeare and Dickinson, Freud and South Park, Kierkegaard and Stephen Colbert. Henrik Drescher’s haunting illustrations are both fiendish and modern. This Inferno is an inimitable achievement—faithful to the original and consistent with Dante’s innovative spirit.


“Mary Jo Bang’s richly colloquial voyage through Hell is not just towering and new, but deeply funny and knowable. As the sad planet of disaster looms closer and closer to us, this is the book you want to be holding in your hands.”
Eileen Myles


Mary Jo Bang’s Inferno is an astute and subtle reading of Dante that brilliantly reflects the inexhaustible capaciousness of the Divine Comedy. Dante’s great poem has everything in it, and Bang’s Inferno does too. Her accurate, deeply pondered translation translates—carries over—Dante into her own world, and ours. It is richly, provocatively, movingly alive.”
- Jonathan Galassi

        This new translation of the Inferno, now straight narrative, now lyric, now echoing a phrase from one of a ‘many-headed multitude’ of other poets, offers at once Mary Jo Bang’s own recurring poetic voice, a delectation of other voices from our poetic past, and the wealth of information in her many careful notes: it is a fresh and ingenious new incarnation of Dante’s ever-captivating story, and from one line to the next a constantly rewarding pleasure to read.
- Lydia Davis

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Henrik Drescher is an award-winning illustrator, author, and fine artist. His illustrations have appeared in such publications as the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, Time and Rolling Stone. He lives in Yunnan, China. For more about his painting, illustration, children’s books, and bookworks.


Learn more about
the artistry of Henrik Drescher
at hdrescher.com





Dante Alighieri 1265-1321) is the author of The Divine Comedy, a masterpiece of world literature. He is not available for interviews.bookworks.


Learn more about
Dante Alighieri at Wikipedia



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Mary Jo Bang's poetry is vivacious and at the same time mysterious. Its surface glitters with the sparkle that the brightest American writing has always given off, and in the depths it reveals a mixture of smoky, quickly complexities, a blend that is hers alone. Characters are driven to distress or exuberance by the fate she has prepared for them—their stories bloom on the page, ripen strangely, and quickly disappear. I love it."
—John Tranter



Graywolf Poetry Reading

AWP Minneapolis, MN

Thursday April 9 2015   12:00 pm to 1:15 pm 

Room 101 F&G, Level 1

(Mary Jo Bang, Katie Ford, Matthea Harvey, Nick Flynn)



© 2015 by Mary Jo Bang