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PERHAPS THE MOST GRATIFYING surprise in my experience as Guest Editor of Melic "Hope" has been the distinctly international list of contributors. They hail from all over the United States as well as Ireland, England, Denmark, Canada and Australia. The word is out: more and more good writers are choosing venues like The Melic Review to find an audience.

I was honored by the carte blanche granted to me by Melic's editorial staff and trust my selections will in turn benefit the magazine. I wish to acknowledge Seàn Charles Martin for his readings of Herbert and Hopkins. Most especially, I acknowledge the multivalent, polysemous imagination of Blake Kritzberg, departing webmistress of The Melic Review. Like a gardener who patiently waits for the warm day when the seedlings are ready, she diligently planted and pruned all these thoughts and words until they blossomed in her visual presentation.

The featured work of Melic Hopes is Stephen Arndt's translation of Dante's Commedia into terza rima. With a faithful rhyme scheme but informal diction, his treatment reminds those of us who care about contemporary poetry that Dante chose the "vulgar tongue," Italian, for his masterpiece rather than Latin. Although it looked like dumbing down to some, Dante sought "the sweet new style" in order to appeal to an audience larger than the cognoscenti of his day.

Dante's predicament in the poem's famous opening lines resonates in the contemporary ear. In the throes of a mid-life crisis, fleeing the starving wolf of lusts, Virgil comes to his rescue (if a detour through hell can be characterized as rescue). All Virgil asks of Dante is that he trust him and hope.

Kathleen Burk Henderson