Monday, July 18, 2005

Pinsky on Dante and Computers

From the Atlantic Monthly a while back (subscription required):

Question: Edward Hirsch, in a review of your Inferno in The New Yorker, describes terza rima and says the effect is like "moving through a series of interpenetrating rooms . . . or going down a set of winding stairs." Is there any connection between the spiraling form of Dante's poem and the way computers appeal to our imaginations?

Pinsky: I think so: there is the elegance and compression of something systematic or technical; and then there is the wildness or variation of our feelings -- a grid, and a flow -- that is the essence of terza rima, and in a way the essence of the many swirls and dips and abundance that flow from the binary guts of computing.

No comments: