In Dante's Wake is a journey in poetry through the moral universe, from blinkered evil to heaven's networks by way of the muddled-up places in between.
Once Was Lost, the third and final volume of the trilogy, finds heaven on a North Atlantic beach, beginning with a breakfast of fried claims at sunrise, moving through encounters with people whose lives have been a blessing to humanity, and ending in a series of visions of psychedelic strangeness and power.
In Dante's Wake visits the Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven of Dante's Divine Comedy, as seen through a modern poet's eyes.
Praise for In Dante's Wake:
Book One, To Join The Lost
"It is sad that we have no latter-day Inferno to display our many crimes and criminals, and to suggest the possibility of redemption - until now. Seth Steinzor's chutzproject of transforming Dante does just that. Here we have a modern geography of transgression, a ranking of the ignoble, and most importantly, a contemporary poet's take on the inglorious stew of our time." - Marc Estrin
"... achingly personal... the finesse - and humor - of someone who has read the classic closely and lovingly... Ultimately, Steinzor's poem is not merely a rewriting of Inferno - the kind of exercise given to undergraduates in which they're asked to consider who would populate Dante's hell today. It's both a paean to Dante's unendingly enthralling vision and - given Seth's visceral, even hotheaded emotional reactions to each shade - a personal meditation on humans' transgressions against one another." - Amy Lilly
"I love it. You had me from the first, or maybe second, strophe." - Regina Psaki, Ph.D.
Book Two, Among The Lost
"What a magnificent ascension Seth Steinzor is achieving. Having embarked on a latter-day retelling of the Divine Comedy, he has already descended into the Inferno and has now risen to the peak of Mount Purgatory, regaling us along the way with apt parallels to Dante's infernal and purgatorial people, places and purposes. We are indeed fortunate to have Steinzor following Dante's footsteps." - Rennie McQuilkin, former Connecticut Poet Laureate
"But only part of the pleasure of reading Among the Lost comes from seeing how it simultaneously echoes and modernizes the urtext of the poet of love... Steinzor's language swings from crass to philosophical to tendentious, and it's often beautiful. A chickadee is seen 'zipping away in scalloped flight'; the exit from hell is a hospital 'through which we are a moving absence.' The author is also not above poking fun at himself: 'My son,' says Dante to Seth, 'you think so much to remarkably little effect.'" - Amy Lilly
Book Three, Once Was Lost
"Recommended... compelling... strong and consistent use of sensory images... almost surreal, musical quality... humorous and intriguing... captivating throughout... a memorable retelling..." - U.S. Review of Books
"...similarly [to Dante] ambitious in scope, political relevance, and philosophical depth. And it contains some beautiful lines of poetry." - Amy Lilly in Seven Days
"...a worthy end to the series" and "an admirable imitation and adaptation of Dante's original." Jeanne Griggs, Necromancy Never Pays
"Readers will not only love the story this third book tells, but they also will recognize, and eventually grow into, cherishing how much they sorely need it." - Daniel Christian