Letter to Frank from Robert Kelly, 1977
24 March 77
my last letter to you bogged down in an excited list of 40 signs (onpiata) all through my life gesturing
me towards Italian; bogged and never sent. But I went on to Him of Firenze, & worked all winter (early'76)
on the canzoniere till I had drafts of all of them in translation. (I had taken that risk angered & offended by what passed as translation, esp. Mendel baum's (ho -stamm, he) of the Francesca Canto.) Now imagine how pleased I am to have Alfa ed O in hand, the delight of reading a text that has the dexterity of verse & the matter of human intellectual discourse. It is very good of you to send it.
Last year I'd hoped to have you up to read at Bard, & I kept telephoning -
Let me know if that would suit you some time (I'm on leave this term & not much at the school).
I left a message once with one who answered -
How goes the Paradiso?
Anguri, & be well -
From ALPA ed O by Frank Samperi, 1976, printed in Kyoto, Japan
The key to an accurate translation
of the last of Par., XX is in the
balance between lo guizzo and
--exhaustion is on the side of achievement,
never on the side of inspiration...
--in life we're under the burden of
death, but in art we're in Spirit...
--only under the glorified body (thru Lumen Gloriae),
the advaitic is our art Eternal (whole)...
There is nothing more odious than
the modern doctrine of the coevality
of events taking place on a terrestrial
Unscrupulous tactics: play one hand
against the other because one hand
that isn't the other feeds the other.
The Commedia (Paradiso specifically)
is not one single image, in truth, it
is no image, because there is no final