"It was dusk, when the dark earth stains the blueing air
and soothes bird in tall tree and beast in silent lair;
I alone amidst all that hush of soil and leaf
prepared for the war of the way and the way's great grief,
of which an undistracted heart may speak or sing..."
Published to coincide with the 700th anniversary of Dante's death, Ned Denny's baroque, line-by-line reimagining – the follow-up to his Seamus Heaney Prize-winning collection Unearthly Toys – shapes the Divine Comedy into nine hundred 144-syllable stanzas. Audacious, provocative and eminently readable, tender and brutal by turns, rooted in sacred doctrine yet with one eye on the profane modern world, this poet's version – in the interpretative tradition of Chapman, Dryden and Pope – is a living, breathing Dante for our times. Hell has never seemed so savage, nor heaven so sublime.