“Abandon hope, all ye who enter here”.
In an era of sweeping political change, constant warfare, international refugee crises and catastrophic climate change, this famous phrase, written above the gates of Hell in Dante’s epic poem Inferno, takes on a whole new resonance. Containing scenes of fire, anguish and violent torture, it is a lurid vision of the afterlife complete with severed heads, cruel and unusual punishments and devils in frozen lakes. But the inferno is much more than a trip into the macabre. As well as being one of the greatest poems ever written, it is an acute study of human psychology, and its Nine Circles of Hell have fed the public imagination within both art and religion.
Join chair Akram Khan and our expert panel, poet Anthony Anaxagorou, Professor Claire Honess and author Simon Kurt Unsworth, as they explore the resonance of this extraordinary epic poem within 21st Century contemporary society. Our guests, who have each been influenced by Dante in their own work, will examine whether the modern world has become akin to Dante’s Inferno and, if so, what hope there is of salvation.
To end the discussion, acclaimed poet Anthony Anaxagorou will debut his new poem which has been specially commissioned by the Bradford Literature Festival. A contemporary response to Inferno, this magnificent poem, told in Anthony’s unique style, will be the perfect end to what is sure to be an unforgettable event.