Inferno Redesigned / Poetry Bus Campaign – Poetry News Roundup June 26th

Today in our poetry news round up, we take a look at the new design for Inferno and the poetry bus campaign.

700 Year Old Poetry Book is Best Book Design of the Year

Something rather  unusual has happened, an illustrated edition of a classic poem that is 700 years old has exploded on Kickstarter. In less that a week it surpassed its goal of $100,000. The book in question is Inferno by Dante Alighieri and it has been illustrated by Sophy Hollington. The talented artist, who has a mesmerising style that has been described by critics as being somewhere between vibrant acid pop and medieval folkloric fuzz, has created something that is being described as “a match made in heaven for a book set in hell!”.

Josh O’Neil of Beehive Books reached out to the artist early in 2021 in order to create a collaboration for one of the elaborate illuminated editions in his imprint. He knew that if anyone could make their way through the strange world created by Dante and bring something new to the playing field.

Inferno is the first part of Dante’s The Divine Comedy, and it takes those who choose to read it take on a journey through the nine rings of hell under the guidance of Virgil, the ancient Roman poet. Over the centuries many other artists have  made attempts at complementing it. The most famous of these attempts was the 19th century work by William Blake and Gustave Dore. It was this work that Hollington used as a reference point for her own renditions, together with work by the Italian painter Primo della Quercia.

Using a process of linocut relief printing, all of the images in her illustration were hand-carved, before being inked and then printed in black and white. The colour was added digitally. All of this was done in slow and painstaking detail over the course of the last three years.

The shipping for this print of inferno is planned for December; it will be a hardcover measuring 9” x 12” and it will be complete with foil, die-cuts, embossing and debossing. There is also an introduction by Ilya Kaminsky, the Ukrainian poet, and an essay from Kristina Olson who is a Dante Scholar. Some limited editions of the publication will also feature numbered art prints.

This is Hollington’s biggest project to date and whilst it was a dark one, she found peace through its completion.

Poet and Bus Company Join Forces

George the Poet and First Bus Company have teamed up to celebrate the importance that buses have in the community. George, who is an award-winning spoken word artist, wants to encourage member of the public as a means of staying in touch with others. His message is clear –   “You can’t spell ‘bus’ without ‘us’” he states in his poem.

The campaign comes after research carried out on behalf of the bus company indicated that four out of five people in Britain believe buses are an important way to connect with others in their community, and that 24% of Brits would happily strike up a conversation with a stranger on the bus, which can lead to friendships.


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