Googling Dante

A Google Adventure Pome by Dan Burstein*

My Google Alerts are set to
Pick up news about
Dante…
Dante Alighieri, that is
The Dante who is
Author of the Divine Comedy
Leading poet of the last Millennium
Thirteenth and Fourteenth Century
Philosopher…Humanist…Political scientist
Father of the Italian language
Thinker and presumptive model
Six hundred years later for
Rodin’s famous sculpture
Pre-Renaissance Renaissance Man
Pre-Luther Reformationist
Imaginer of Heaven and Hell
Florentine citizen, Florentine exile
Lover of Beatrice

My Dante is
Artistic inspirer to so many:
Chaucer Blake Liszt Joyce
Beckett Eliot Botticelli Longfellow
Milton Balzac Borges
Matthew Weiner who mapped
Season Six of
Mad Men to Dante’s Inferno and
Dan Brown whose last
Robert Langdon caper tried to do for
Dante what Brown did a decade ago for
Leonardo

Even though important new scholarship on
Dante is published regularly
Most of the hits I get from my
Google alerts are for other
Dantes

Topping the list at the moment is
Dante Exum
Very exciting nineteen year old
Six foot six
Basketball player from
Australia of all places
Drafted by the Utah Jazz

Dante Fowler Jr. has been coming up a lot
Star defensive end for the
University of Florida Gators
Critical to the team in the 2014 season
(He gave up eating at McDonald’s for a year and now
He’s
Supposed to be leaner meaner and an
Even better pass rusher)

Dante de Blasio
Sixteen-year-old son of
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is much in
Gotham’s public eye and therefore
Surfaces frequently in my alerts

Earlier this summer Dante Palminteri got a
Lot of attention for his role in
Sharknado 2
But I suspect that celebrity will be
Slightly briefer than Dante Alighieri’s
Seven century long reputation
Sharknado 2 tanked quickly

Joe Dante
Director of Gremlins and its sequel
Can always be counted on to make a little
Hollywood news and set off my alerts

When I started on our book
Secrets of Inferno
I was still seeing many media references to the
Extremely popular
Dante’s Inferno video game
Now in its fifth year the gamers may be
Moving on to other titles because
I didn’t see Dante’s Inferno
Mentioned anywhere in all of the recent
Media about Amazon buying Twitch

Loads of other
Dantes
Get a mention here or there
But only very rarely
My Dante…
Dante Alighieri…
The one who started his famous poem
“In the middle of the journey of life
I found myself lost in a dark wood….”

I have a related alert set for Inferno
The first book of Dante’s
Divina Commedia
This alert keeps me informed on all
Raging fires and explosions in every
City of the world
Newspapers and news aggregators
Looking for drama and urgency as the
Key ingredients in the
Art of 21st century headline writing
Can never call a fire a fire
But must amp it up to term it an
Inferno
You might be surprised how many
Infernos are burning right now in
America and the world
I get daily reports on them all

Even though Dante Alighieri
Popularized the word Inferno
Seven centuries ago
He did not mean it to be applied to the
Depths of Hell

In Dante’s mind
Cold was worse than heat
The baddest of sinners were
Condemned to shiver forever
Near absolute zero
Gnawed at constantly
In the frozen abyss by
Satan himself

My dearest critics in my family
Tell me the last bit is too severe an ending
For my light-hearted adventure about
Googling Dante
So I am adding one more
Serendipitous find from my world of
Dante alerts:
Dante the Comedian

Like Madonna, Sting, and Beyoncé
He goes by the mononym Dante
Fun fact #1: He was actually named for the Italian poet by his parents
Fun fact #2: He claims to have performed for American troops
More than any comedian since Bob Hope
Fun Fact #3: He’s been celebrated as the
“Funniest Black Comic in LA” …
Even though he’s not Black
Fun fact #4: According to his self-written bio:
He is the rare performer who can do an urban comedy club
Followed by a Latino crowd and still
Bring down the house at a Beverly Hills country club benefit
All in one night

Talented guy this
Dante the Comedian
But not as talented as
Dante Alighieri

It is not likely anyone will be talking about
Any of these other Dantes
Seven hundred years from now
But hopefully
My Dante…
Dante Alighieri…
Will still be relevant in the
2700s

*Dan Burstein is the coauthor and coeditor of Secrets of Inferno: In the Footsteps of Dante and Dan Brown

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