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By Joseph Glantz


Dante Alighieri
Dante Delgi Aligheri was an Italian Florentine poet. He was born in 1265 and died in 1321. His The Divine Comedy, consisting of The Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradisio is considered the signature work of the European medieval period.

So Dante, did hell live up to your expectations?
In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself within a dark wood where the straight way was lost. 
(Inferno Canto I, lines 1-3; written during his lifetime)

Abandon every hope, ye who enter here.
(Inferno Canto III, line 9)

And what’s your take on some society’s most notorious?
Heaven, to keep its beauty, cast them out, but even Hell itself would not receive them for fear the wicked there might glory over them. 
(Inferno Canto III, lines 40-42)

Love, which absolves no beloved one from loving, seized me so strongly with his charm that, as thou seest, it does not leave me yet. 
(Inferno Canto V, lines 103-105)

Your mantra for living?
Give us this day the daily manna, without which, in this rough desert, he backward goes, who toils most to go on. 
(Purgatory Canto XI, lines 13-15) 

In other words?
Everyone confusedly conceives of a good in which the mind may be at rest, and desires it; wherefore everyone strives to attain it. 
(Purgatory Canto XVII, lines 127-129)

And how does one aspire to that mantra?
Consider your origin; you were not born to live like brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge. 
(Inferno Canto XXVI, lines 118-120)

Do good deeds help?
Love kindled by virtue always kindles another, provided that its flame appear outwardly. 
(Purgatory Canto XXII, lines 10-12)

In other words?
A great flame follows a little spark. 
(Paradiso Canto I, line 34)

Since you knew a little bit about “hot” weather, what are you thoughts on global warming?
Worldly renown is naught but a breath of wind, which now comes this way and now comes that, and changes name because it changes quarter. 
(Purgatory Canto XI, lines 100-102) 

Wind Energy?
O human race, born to fly upward, wherefore at a little wind dost thou so fall? 
(Purgatory Canto XII, lines 95-96)

Let’s try a few random viewpoints. Blue Point Oysters with cocktail sauce?
The experience of this sweet life. 
(Paradiso Canto XX, lines 47-48)

A perfectly thrown spiral?
Like the lark that soars in the air, first singing, then silent, content with the last sweetness that satiates it, such seemed to me that image, the imprint of the Eternal Pleasure. 
(Paradiso Canto XX, lines 73-77)

And religion?
I saw within Its depth how It conceives all things in a single volume bound by Love, of which the universe is the scattered leaves. (Paradiso Canto XXXIII, lines 85-87)

And now, let’s try your specialty, writing. What makes people write?
Pride, Envy, and Avarice are the three sparks that have set these hearts on fire. (Inferno Canto VI, lines 74-75)

And the key to being a good writer?
Here must all distrust be left behind; all cowardice must be ended. 
(Inferno Canto III, lines 14-15)

Necessity brings him here, not pleasure. 
(Inferno Canto XII, line 87)

Did you get your drafts right the first time?
O conscience, upright and stainless, how bitter sting to thee is a little fault! (Purgatory Canto III, lines 8-9)

The appeal of the extremes?
Without hope we live in desire. 
(Inferno Canto IV, line 42)

Writing. And finally, interviews?
He listens well who takes notes. 
(Inferno Canto XV, line 99)

Can we count on you for a return interview?
If I thought my answer were to one who would ever return to the world, this flame should stay without another movement; but since none ever returned alive from this depth, if what I hear is true, I answer thee without fear of infamy. 
(Inferno Canto XXVII, lines 61-66)

How did you know your time was up?
Less than a drop of blood remains in me that does not tremble; I recognize the signals of the ancient flame. 
(Purgatory Canto XXX, lines 46-48)

What were your last words before you died?
To run over better waters the little vessel of my genius now hoists her sails, as she leaves behind her a sea so cruel. 
(Purgatory Canto I, lines 1-3) 

Copyright 2016 Joseph Glantz