13. Caroline Bergvall, "VIA"

Caroline Bergvall has made a poem out of forty-seven English translations of the opening tercet (three-line verse) of Dante Alighieri’s Inferno (1321): “Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita / mi ritrovai per una selva oscura / ché la diritta via era smarrita.” She arranges the translations alphabetically according to first word, from “along” to “when,” reciting the translator’s name and date after each. She performs the poem and the effect is eerie and beautiful and repetitive - as if we as listeners/readers are going nowhere.

1. read Bergvall's poem: link to text
2. listen to Bergvall perform the poem: link to PennSound
3. read Brian Reed's essay on the poem: link to text
4. listen to three poems talk for 30-minutes about the poem: link to PoemTalk
5. watch a 12-minute discussion of the poem: link to video

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