The Cathedral of St. John the Divine hosts the annual Maundy Thursday reading of the Inferno of Dante Alighieri on Thursday, April 18 from 9:15 pm – 12:00 am at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue (at 112th Street), Manhattan.
This longtime tradition, part of the Cathedral’s Maundy Thursday offerings during the week leading to Easter, has called thousands of New Yorkers to descend into Dante Alighieri’s literary hellscape each year. The annual reading of selections from the Inferno brings poets and friends into the “dark woods” of Dante’s haunting vision to hear the unforgettable descriptions of suffering, punishment, and moral redemption.
This dramatic literary event takes place in the Crossing of the Cathedral, with selected cantos read by honored guests, distinguished poets, eminent translators, and Inferno reading regulars. Readers this year include musician Laurie Anderson; poet and memoirist Eileen Myles; the Cathedral’s Poet in Residence, Marilyn Nelson; actor Frank Messina; and translator Michael Palma. Dante scholar Anthony Viscusi will conclude the reading with the final canto of Dante’s Paradiso, an allegorical depiction of the glorious Heaven so fervently sought by the souls wandering through the Inferno, read in the original Italian. An organ improvisation by William Randolph, Jr., closes the evening, ushering participants and listeners into the April night, as Dante wrote, “to see again the stars.”