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« Under Fire [by Terence Winch] | Main | Alfred Hitchcock's Fate Was In His Stars [by David Lehman] »

August 12, 2022

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Thank you for this insightful essay. I never knew about the da Maiano response, and never before have I felt maternal toward Dante. He comes alive in a beautifully real way. Thanks.

La Vita Nuova is a work that endlessly attracts me, and which also inevitably disappoints me. I go to it expecting to find the answer to that timeless question: what is the essence of burning passion? Then I find that Dante's personality is too removed, in more ways than one, from my own, and no doubt from that of many contemporary readers. Montale was right: Dante is not a modern poet. Maybe not a love poet, as we are accustomed to think of them. I would go back in time, or forward, to find the ones that speak to me. Still La Vita Nuova is a remarkable, unique, work by a brilliant poet. I very much appreciated Robert P. Baird's fascinating look at it.

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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark


from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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