Dante Conference in Florence

David Gewanter of the Georgetown English Department working with a cluster of colleagues from associated academic and cultural organizations helped to assemble an ambitious program which explored ways in which the work of Dante  inspired later artists.  The conference w featured poets Yusef Komunyaaka, Robert Pinsky, Elena Svarc, Eduoardo Sanguineti, scholars John Frecerro and GU's Frank Ambrosio, plus visual artists & musicians.  Michael Collins, Serafina Hager, and others at GU  helped underwrite the conference.  Other sponsors included NYU, Syracuse, and the Universities of Florence and Moscow.  Below you will find a copy of the program.

Art Engendering Art 

Semicerchio: Journal of Comparative Poetry and the Gabinetto Vieusseux
in cooperation with

American Embassy in Italy
Assessorato alla Cultura del Comune di Firenze
Fondazione Romualdo Del Bianco

Georgetown University and Villa Le Balze
New York University – Villa La Pietra
Società Dante Alighieri Mosca
Syracuse University in Florence
University of Florence
University of Moscow 

Dante: Art Engendering Art will bring together an international array of poets, artists, translators, and interpreters of the poetry of Dante who have significantly contributed to the interpretation of the Poet’s world, making his voice resound through different artistic genres and idioms.  

Under the sign of Dante, Florence will become a meeting place where American and Russian cultures - which began to rediscover Dante simultaneously at the beginning of the XIX century - will engage each other, developing a dialogue with each other, and Italy.  A full program of events, lectures, and workshops will illustrate the never-ending regeneration of Dante’s poem in poetry, theater, music, painting, and multimedia works. 

The Romualdo Del Bianco Foundation, Georgetown University, New York University, Syracuse University, and the University and the Dante Alighieri Society of Moscow are cooperating with the journal of comparative poetry Semicerchio and the Gabinetto Vieusseux to develop this project. The University of Florence and the American Embassy in Italy will also support the event. We are in the process of requesting the sponsorship of the Società Dantesca Italiana in Florence. 

The event will take place in various sites in Florence (including the Palazzo Veccchio and the Casa di Dante) from November 15th to November 17th.


Schedule of Events
(some events are still TBD)

at 5:00 pm

Palazzo Vecchio, Salone dei Cinquecento

Opening ceremony
Inaugural talks by three Dante scholars representing American, Russian and Italian cultures (for the United States: John Freccero; for Russia: Olga Sedakova; for Italy: TBD).

Poetry reading by the five invited poets (Komunyakaa, Pinsky, Sanguineti, Švarc, Sedakova) of a poem of their own choice by a great Dantist-poet of the past belonging to their literary tradition.

at 9:00 pm
Auditorium Al Duomo, Fondazione Del Bianco
(Via de’ Cerretani 54/r)

Edoardo Sanguineti reads and comments on Commedia dell’Inferno. Un travestimento dantesco, his renown elaboration of  Dante’s first cantica. Portions of his Laborintus II, developed with composer Luciano Berio, will also be played and discussed.

at 10:00 am
University of Florence, Aula Magan of the Italian department
(p.za Savonarola, 1) 

 Roundtable discussion on Dante’s work as translated and re-written by contemporary poets (details on this meeting will be given in September).
Simultaneous translation in English will be provided.

at 6:00 pm
La Galleria, Syracuse University in Florence
(Via della Robbia, 99)

Exhibit of the artist Quinto Martini’s illustrations of the Divine Comedy (lithographs, bas-reliefs, paintings, drawings)

at 9:00
Auditorium Al Duomo, Fondazione Del Bianco
(Via de’ Cerretani 54/r)

Presentation and discussion of works inspired by Dante made by Russian, American and Italian artists (short films, musical pieces, multimedia works, and video-operas such as The Voyage of D. and V. by Iraida Yusupova and Alexander Dolghin)

at 11 am

Casa di Dante – Circolo degli Artisti
(Via S. Margherita 1)

Official presentation of the exibit of graphical works, paintings and videos by American, Russian and Italian artists from the beginning of the 20th century to today. The exhibition will be open until December 17, and it will include the screening of film inspired by Dante made at the beginning of the past century and collected by Mediateca Regionale Toscana. Among them, Francesco Bertolini’s L’Inferno da la Divina Commedia of 1911.

at 5:00 pm
Gabinetto Vieusseux
(Palazzo Strozzi, Sala Ferri) 

Yusef Komunyakaa (author of a monologue inspired by Dante’s Beatrice), Robert Pinsky (poet and translator of the Inferno), Elena Švarc (poet and winner of the Prize Sibilla Aleramo),
Olga Sedakova
(poet and Italianist) read from their translations and re-writings of the works of Dante.
Poetry reading hosted by Edoardo Sanguineti.
The poems will be also read in Italian by poet and performer Rosaria Lo Russo.

at 9:00 pm
Villa la Pietra – New York University
(Via Bolognese, 120)

Performance based on Dante’s Comedy by the theater director Giancarlo Cauteruccio.
Music inspired by Dante by the American composer Bruce Saylor (Cantos for the Inferno; violinist Gil Morgenstern, libretto by Jonathan Levi – stage adaptation for Pinsky’s translation of Inferno) and from Laborintus II by Luciano Berio in cooperation with Sanguineti.


During the event the website Digital Dante Project, developed by Frank Ambrosio (Georgetown University) will be presented.