On a recent episode of The New Yorker Poetry Podcast, poet and translator Mary Jo Bang talks about her translations of Dante’s Inferno and her current project, a translation of his Purgatorio.
Bang reveals just how intriguing translating Dante is by describing what drew her in: the fact that there are over 47 translations of the first lines of the Inferno alone.
The reasons why, and the intricacies of translating Dante are often surprising. For example, researching and writing the footnotes necessary to understanding these works are actually what the poet finds most challenging.
Read the interview transcript or listen to the podcast here, to learn more about the joys and challenges of translating Dante, Bang’s translation process, medieval “sampling” , and so much more.