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Dante in China

Ratings:
71 pages36 minutes

Summary

In John Barr's poems, the ancient masters encounter the modern world. Dante on a beach in China beholds the Inferno: “Flaring well gas night and day, / towers rise as if to say, / Pollution can be beautiful.” Bach’s final fugue informs all of nature. Villon is admonished by an aging courtesan. Aristotle finds “Demagogues are the insects of politics. / Like water beetles they stay afloat / on surface tension, they taxi on iridescence.” And his afterlife: “When three-headed Cerberus greeted him / Socrates replied: I won’t need / an attack dog, thank
you. I married one.”

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