MacLehose Press

The Mundane Comedy

Slightly off-topic here — the subject is neither translated nor published by MacLehose Press — but it seems worth mentioning that London poet Niall O’Sullivan’s epic series The Mundane Comedy comes to an end this week. A few days short of a year ago, he set himself the challenge of writing a poem in day in Terza Rima — a form most commonly associated with Dante’s The Divine Comedy (the link!):

Named with affection after  The Divine Comedy, The Mundane Comedy uses the terza rima form of Dante’s epic to document a year of my life—detailing big current events, intimate everyday happenings and the tired rope bridge of opinion that naturally forms between the two. As the subject matter partially relates to the coming of my first child, I have had to keep it under wraps leading up to the magic twelve week hump where most expecting parents choose to tell the world. While most of the poems will deal with the time leading up to his/her arrival, other poems may be political, philosophical, deep, shallow, scientific, spiritual or perhaps a bit daft.

It’s quite an undertaking, and one of its great pleasures is the marrying of a strict and exacting form (though not applied with New Formalist strictness) with the poet’s conversational style and a willingness to engage with all manner of everyday concerns. O’Sullivan complained last week at the irony that writer’s block should strike as he entered the final straight, but today’s poem is perhaps one of the finest yet. Well worth exploring, and it would be nice to see it published in book form before too long.

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