The wonderful Scottish writer and artist Alasdair Gray has a blog, and on that blog he is posting his “Very Free New Version” of Dante’s Divina Commedia. He says “My version is so prosaic that I call the cantos/ chapters and will add them to my blog/ with their date of completion”; I’m not sure what he means by “prosaic,” unless it’s just apotropaic self-deprecation (how, after all, can you call your own stuff “poetic” when it’s confronting Dante?), but it sure sounds like poetry to me, and it’s as immediately convincing as Christopher Logue’s Homer (see this LH post—almost a decade old now!). Here‘s the start of it, and here are the first few stanzas:
In middle age I wholly lost my way
and found myself within an evil wood
far from the right straight road we all should tread
and what a wood! So densely tangled, dark,
jaggily, thorned, so hard to press on through,
even the memory renews my dread.
My misery, my almost deadly fear
led on to such discovery of good,
I’ll tell you of it, if you care to hear.
Hat tip to wood s lot.