Francesco Petrarca (1304–1374), commonly known as Petrarch in the English-speaking world, is the great Italian master whose work helped to create the Renaissance sonnet craze in England. He was a Franciscan tertiary, a scholar of the Classics, a friend to Decameron author Giovanni Boccaccio, and an immensely popular poet in his day. Despite his religious vows, he had two children out of wedlock, and is best known for sonnets professing intense love for a woman named Laura.
Susan McLean has published two books of poetry, The Best Disguise (winner of the Richard Wilbur Award) and The Whetstone Misses the Knife (winner of the Donald Justice Poetry Prize). Her book of translations of Latin poems by Martial, Selected Epigrams, was a finalist for the PEN Center USA Translation Award. Her translations of Rilke have appeared in Subtropics, Measure, Transference, Think Journal, and elsewhere. She is professor emerita of English at Southwest Minnesota State University and lives in Iowa City, Iowa.