Dante’s Death Anniversary/New Years Poet – Poetry News Roundup January 1st

We begin a new year here on My Poetic Side with a look at the first event celebrating the 700th Dante’s death anniversary, and the poet who helped with the New Years celebrations in the UK.

Dante Anniversary Begins with Virtual Exhibition

88 drawings belonging to Dante’s Divine Comedy are being made available online for public viewing for the first time by The Uffizi Gallery in Florence. These drawings have rarely been seen and are being used to help mark the 700th anniversary of the poet’s death which falls in 2021.

The virtual exhibition will make the high-resolution images of the works that were created by Federico Zuccari, the 16th century Renaissance artist, free for members of the public to look at. They are illustrations that were used for The Divine Comedy the epic poem that was written by Dante Alighieri who is considered to be the father of the Italian language.

Dante who was born in Tuscany was buried in Ravenna the ancient capital which is situated u Emilia-Romagna.

The illustrations are pencil-and-ink and were created using the contrasting shades of red and black. They were completed by the artist whilst he was staying in Spain, 1586 to 1588. They were added to the Uffizi collection in 1738.

There have only been two previous occasions when the illustrations have been on public display, and these occasions have only included a small number of the drawings due to their fragility. The first was on the 600th anniversary of the birth of the poet in 1865 and the second in 1993 when they formed part of a special exhibit about Dante.

They were originally bound together in one single volume, each drawing placed opposite a verse from the poem, the virtual show which will be called “A riveder le stelle” – to see the stars again, which is a reference to the last line of “Inferno” – will also include scholarly comments and texts.

The drawings and the corresponding text are a great resource for scholars of the poet.

London Celebrations for New Year’s Eve

For many, the firework display in London last night came as something of a surprise, with London Mayor Sadiq Khan stating as far back as September that the display this year would be cancelled in order to prevent mass gathering, and the necessary policing, during the pandemic.

This morning George Mpanga, aka George the Poet, the spoken word poet who rose to fame when he read a poem during the BBC’s coverage of the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex has found himself unwittingly in the middle of considerable controversy.

Last night the poet took part in the celebrations, reading an extract of “Coronavirus: The power of collaboration” his new poem. The poem was accompanied by an image created by hundreds of drones which created an image of a raised fist, a symbol that this year has been synonymous with the BLM movement.

Many people were angry that the firework and light event had been politicised in this way and have taken to social media, tagging the poet amongst others in their anger.

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