On Saturday, November 23, Poets House, in partnership with City Lore and NY’OC Trobadors, hosts a landmark symposium celebrating and bringing the riches of southern French poetry and culture to the American public. The symposium gathers international and local poets, artists, scholars, and performers to share the fascinating history of the region and bring to life the songs of troubadours past and present in the endangered lenga d’òc (Occitan language). Chef and foodie favorite Ariane Daguin, owner of gourmet purveyor D’Artagnan, will host a reservation-only Gascon Buffet with a short historic overview of Occitan cuisine and cooking demonstration. The evening will culminate in a music and poetry performance featuring accomplished bicontinental artists Joan Francés Tisnèr (project director), Jakes Aymonino, Domenja Lekuona, Pierre Joris, and Nicole Peyrafitte. Other presenters include New York University scholars Deborah Kapchan, Sarah Kay and Richard Sieburth, and director of Fondacion Occitània Alem Surre-Garcia.
The 11th century trobadors and trobairitz of Occitania, a region spanning the entire southern half of France (Bearn, Languedoc, Auvergne, Limousin, Provence) and encompassing the Occitan Valleys in the Italian Alps and the Aran Valley in the Spanish Pyrenees, have long inspired American poets, most notably Ezra Pound, with their lyrical, secular, and often subversive verse-commentary on the culture, politics, and love affairs of their time. Mythologized as wandering mystics, these professional poets set the stage for everything from poetic forms like the cantata and sestina to the passionate and carefully-wrought works of Joan Baez and Bob Dylan to Top 40 love songs. The Trobadors symposium celebrates and bears witness to a millennium of Occitan culture and influence around the globe.
Opening Remarks: Richard Sieburth
2:00–3:30 PM: Topologies of Occitan Language & Culture
Languages & their Territories with Nicole Peyrafitte, Domenja Lekuona, Alem Surre-Garcia; Occitan & the Orient with Deborah Kapchan; Participatory Introduction to Occitan Language & Songs with Joan Francés Tisnèr
4:00–5:30 PM Occitan Literature Through the Ages:
Troubadour Poetry: The Classical Moment with Richard Sieburth; Occitan Literature: The Middle Ages with Sarah Kay; Occitan Poetry: The 20th Century & Beyond with Pierre Joris & Alem Surre-Garcia
5:30–7:00 PM: Gascon Dinner with Ariane Daguin and D’Artagnan (Space is limited: Reservations Required)
Buffet Gascon offered by gourmet purveyor D’Artagnan, with short historic overview of Occitan food and cooking demonstration by Ariane Daguin and Nicole Peyrafitte. Gascony is a region in Occitania known for its “sweetness of life” and is home to foie gras and Armagnac brandy.
Dinner admission (includes evening performance): $25 per person.
Reservations REQUIRED! please contact Joe Fritsch at (212) 431-7920 x 2832 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
7:00–9:00 PM: NY’OC Trobadors Multimedia Performance
Journey through a millennium of Occitan culture in music, images, and bilingual poetry. With Joan Francés Tisnèr, Jakes Aymonino, Domenja Lekuona, Pierre Joris, and Nicole Peyrafitte.
D’artagnan, Région Aquitaine, Cirdoc, InÒc, DRAC, CG64, Ville de Pau Produceurs: Lo NAu (Occitania), Ta’wil Productions (USA)
André Spears & Anne Rosen, Margo & Anthony Viscusi, Jason Wise, anonymous