Truth is Rarely Pure: Translating Dante

Apr 12, 2023

05:30 PM - 06:30 PM

Old Capitol Museum, Senate Chamber

21 North Clinton Street, Iowa City, IA 52240

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Classics - Colloquium SP23 Bang

Join us on Wednesday, April 12 at 5:30 p.m. in the Old Capitol Museum Senate Chamber for the inaugural talk of the Ancient Exchanges speaker series! Mary Jo Bang, nationally recognized poet and Professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis, will be giving a talk titled, "The Truth is Rarely Pure: Translating Dante."

Mary Jo Bang is the author of eight books of poems—including A Doll for Throwing, The Last Two Seconds, The Bride of E, and Elegy, which received the National Book Critics Circle Award. She has published a translation of Dante’s Inferno, illustrated by Henrik Drescher, a translation of Purgatorio, and Colonies of Paradise, translations of poems by the German poet and novelist Matthias Göritz. She has received a Hodder Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Berlin Prize Fellowship. She’s a Professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis where she teaches creative writing. A Film in Which I Play Everyone: Poems is forthcoming form Graywolf Press in September 2023 and her translation of Paradiso in 2025.

This Ancient Exchanges speaker series talk is co-sponsored by the Department of Classics, Translation Program, Iowa Writers' Workshop, International Writing ProgramMagid Center for Writing, Department of English, and Department of French and Italian.

A limited-edition broadside, signed by the translator, will be available for purchase at the event and through the Ancient Exchanges website. Fifty copies will be letterpress printed at the UI Center for the Book by the Ancient X team. The selection will be from Mary Jo Bang’s translation of Dante’s Paradiso, published in the Spring 2022 issue of Ancient Exchanges, titled Expanse.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact in advance at