Dante Symposium/Willie Morris Awards – Poetry News Roundup March 8th

Today on My Poetic Side we have news articles about the annual Dante Alighieri symposium and the winners of the Willie Morris Awards 2023.

Dante’s Divine Comedy – The Problem With Trying to Translate it

DanteOver the years, The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri has been the subject of many translations both the human and the AI type. However, experts suggest that there really is no best translation. This is a topic that will form part of the keynote at the Australian Catholic University’s Annual


which will be led by Dr Simon West.

According to Dr West the only real way that people can learn to understand the depth and beauty of La Commedia is to learn Italian. He does feel however that it isn’t just the language that goes missing when a translation is made. Written in terza rima, which is a rhyming verse invented by the poet himself for the Divine Comedy, is a linguistic element that renders translating the work even harder. Anyone trying to translate has to make a choice between the sense of the piece of trying to stay true to the rhyme.

The other issues Dr West feels exists with trying to translate is tying to get the right infusion of cultural context to the epic poem that was penned 700 years ago. Dante’s modern and medieval Christian world, the traditions and the concepts are something that might seem rather alien to the modern world.

Of course this isn’t an issue that is exclusive to older poems, anything that contains cultural references that are “foreign” to the translator can make capturing the essence of even a modern poem a complex issue.

Willie Morris Awards 2023

The Willie Morris Awards for Southern Writing ,which are given for works of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, have announced their winners for 2023.

The poetry prize winner is Adam Haver for his poem “There Are Words That Conjure”

The awards form part of a program that was put together to celebrate the legacy of the award winning author and University of Mississippi writer-in-residence Willie Morris. They seek to spread an appreciation of modern Southern literature. The winning entries must be inspired by Southern themes and approach them with what the judges describe as “an air of hope.”

There were several hundred nominations for the awards this year and the panel of judges managed to whittle them down to the three winners, one for each category. The non-fiction category has been newly added to the awards this year and the judges were impressed with the number and quality of the entries. The winning fiction entry was a debut novel by Destiny Birdsong and the winning non-fiction entry was written by Beverly Lowry.

Birdsong, who has received $12,000 for her winning entry has also been named on the longlist for the Centre for Fiction’s First Novel Prize. The prize for the winning non-fiction entry is also $12,000 whilst the winning poem takes home a prize of $3000.

You must register to comment. Log in or Register.