Dante at Southwark Cathedral

Dante Alighieri's portrait by Sandro Botticelli

Poetry experts are coming together at Southwark Cathedral this week to explore the life and work of the great medieval poet Dante Alighieri.

The Poet in the City event on Thursday will celebrate The Divine Comedy, the man behind the iconic poem and its legacy.

Actor Timothy West will play Dante on the night to bring the poem to life.  He'll be joined by Dante experts Robin Kirkpatrick, Professor of Italian and English Literature at Cambridge University, John Took, Professor of Dante Studies at University College London, and award winning contemporary Florentine poet Elisa Biagin.

There will also be music from the cathedral's acclaimed Merbecke Choir.

The aim of the Poet in the City events is to bring poetry to a new audience and raise funds for poetry education.

A Poet in the City event held last year at St Paul's Cathedral to explore John Donne attracted an audience of over 1,500 people.

"Poet in the City is delighted to present this unique celebration of one of the world's most important and influential poets, in the stunning setting of Southwark Cathedral," said Graham Henderson, chief executive of Poet in the City.

"After our hugely popular event last year at St Paul's we were very keen to work with Southwark in bringing a fantastic poetry crowd to the cathedral. It is wonderful to be collaborating on such an exciting event.

"We are also honoured to be bringing together some of the great leading Dante experts and performers for this celebration, and I feel sure that this is set to be one of the stand out events of the Poet in the City season."

The Very Reverend Andrew Nunn, Dean of Southwark, says: "Southwark Cathedral is delighted to be a part of Poet in the City and to be hosting this event which will help to bring Dante to life in South London. With Timothy West reading and some really excellent speakers I am sure that this will be a fascinating and enlightening evening in a very special venue."

Dante Alighieri takes place from 6.30pm on Thursday 25 April 2013, at Southwark Cathedral, London Bridge, London, SE1 9DA.  Tickets cost £10 and can be purchased online at http://southwarkdante.eventbrite.com or in person from the Southwark Cathedral box office.

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