Divine Inspiration: Poets Respond to Dante

Artwork featuring large oversized black text from The Divine Comedy, with block of blue on right hand side
Angela Cavalieir and George Matoulas, The Divine Comedy, Rare Books Collection

Noel Shaw Gallery, Level 1, Baillieu Library

Join us on Thursday 23 June in the Baillieu Library for an evening of poetry inspired the exhibition, Epic and Divine: Dante’s World. The University of Melbourne’s Archives and Special Collections have collaborated with Meanjin to commission some of Australia’s finest emerging young poets to create pieces in response to the work of Dante. You’ll hear Wen-Juenn Lee, George Cox and Nandini Shah read their original works, plus special guest Jessica L. Wilkinson performing a poem written in collaboration with award-winning Singaporean poet Alvin Pang.

Come along for a drink and to immerse yourself in the splendour of the Epic and Divine: Dante’s World exhibition along with the poetry it has inspired in the present day.

The poets will be introduced by Justin Clemens.

This is a free event.

Wen-Juenn Lee is a poet and editor who lives on unceded Wurundjeri land. Her writing has been published or is forthcoming  in Meanjin, Cordite, Antithesis, Landfall, Southerly, Scum Mag and Going Down Swinging.

George Cox is completing an honours thesis about I.A. Richards and aesthetic education. He has lived and studies on the land of the Wurundjeri people since 2013. You can find him on Twitter @george_r_t_c

Nandini Shah is a writer and poet working on Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung country. She is interested in writing as political thinking as well as language’s relationship to the natural world. She has recently been shortlisted for Overland’s Kuracca Prize for excellence in Australian literature.

Alvin Pang is a Singaporean poet and editor whose writing has been translated into more than twenty languages worldwide. His latest titles include WHAT HAPPENED: Poems 1997-2017 (2017) and UNINTERRUPTED TIME (2019). A co-editor of the anthology Divining Dante (Recent Work Press, 2021), he also translated two Cantos of Purgatorio for the volume After Dante: Poets in Purgatory (2021, ed. Nick Havely & Bernard O’Donoghue). He is an Adjunct Professor of RMIT University.

Jessica L. Wilkinson is the author of three poetic biographies, most recently Music Made Visible: A Biography of George Balanchine (Vagabond, 2019). She is the founding editor of Rabbit: a journal for nonfiction poetry and is Associate Professor in Creative Writing at RMIT University.

Justin Clemens is an associate professor in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne. His most recent book is Limericks, Philosophical and Literary (Surpllus, 2019).