First there is this from The Writer's Almanac:
It's the birthday of poet and essayist John Ciardi (books by this author), born in Boston, Massachusetts (1916). He's remembered today for his book How Does a Poem Mean? (1959), which has become a standard textbook in high school and college poetry classes. He also published several collections of his own poetry, and his Collected Poems came out in 1997.
But he may be best known for his translation of Dante's Divine Comedy, published in 1954. More than 50 English translations of the Divine Comedy were published in the 20th century, but Ciardi's is considered one of the best. For years, it was the standard translation used in English classes in the U.S.
Ciardi said, "The reader deserves an honest opinion. If he doesn't deserve it, give it to him anyhow."
And there is this personal postscript:
I have fond memories of reading Ciardi's Dante in college. It was a mesmerizing encounter. Perhaps I should return to The Inferno soon. Actually, I might be going there sooner than I would like. Hmmm.