This week we begin by bringing you an article about the poet Dante and his final resting place. We also have an article about a play that will be taking to the stage in Canada, and finally, the Pavement Poet.
The Poet Who Travelled in Death
Nearly 700 years ago this week, the poet Dante Alighieri died at the age of 56. He was living in Ravenna at the time – in what is now Emilia-Romagna. He had been living there for around 3 years, having been invited there by the ruler following his exile from the city of his birth Florence, somewhere he hadn’t seen for around 20 years.
And that really should be where the story ends; with Dante being buried in Ravenna, but it isn’t. for many years Dante remained where he had been buried. As the years passed other poets followed his precedent for poetry written not in Latin but in the vernacular; Giovanni Boccaccio and Francesco Petrarch both praised him, and his reputation grew. Florence requested that Ravenna return the body of Dante, so they might bury him in his birth place, this first request made 75 years after his death was the first of many.
Ravenna decided to move the corpse to a more prominent place and add a statue in 1483, a move seen as a taunt towards Florence by many. Finally, in 1513 the request could not be denied, Pope Leo X, a member of one of the most influential families of the time – the Medici family -ordered the body to be returned by papal decree. However, the bones had already been removed in secret.
Over the years the poet’s bones have been moved many times, during World War II they were moved to a simple patch of earth in the garden of the basilica to keep them safe from the invading force. They were returned to the mausoleum in Ravenna at the end of the war.
Many tourists visit the cathedral in Florence where there is a plaque and a statue dedicated to the towns most famous son, it is here they pay tribute to the poet, yet it is not, as many believe, the poets final resting place…. probably.
“Sa’di – A Traveller From the Town of Love”
A play on the life and works of the Persian Poet Sa’di will be taking to the stage in North Vancouver, Canada on 22nd September.
Sa’di was famous worldwide for The Orchard (Bustan) and The Rose Garden (Gulistan). It is hoped that the play will attract the attention of Iranian expatriates living in Canada who might have distanced themselves from their native art and culture.
Persian paintings will be used to help design the set of the play in an effort to add to its authenticity.
The Pavement Poetry of Leeds
For the last week, anyone living or working in Leeds might have seen a significant amount of poetry written on the pavements. This is the work of Danny Rowland, the Pavement Poet.
For the last 5 years Rowland has been travelling in Europe and the UK, writing poetry on the pavements as he goes. He travels around with just his rucksack and tent, never staying long in any one place and leaving a trail of words behind him that vanish as soon as it rains.