Ezra Pound introduced me to the magic of French Provençal poetry and I’ve been grateful ever since. For poetry lovers, François Villon will come immediately to mind but he is perhaps foremost among a largely forgotten group of magical poets. These medieval troubadours forged powerful music in the vernacular, rough-hewn poetry intended for both high and low, inebriating potions of melody and the language of the streets, often vulgar and bawdy, reveling in life lived on the edge and one step ahead of the law. The Provençals, while celebrating chivalry and courtly love, were masters of satire and coarse humor, their targets smug burghers, arrogant nobles, black robed judges, hypocritical prelates, and disdainful lovers. They were remarkably self-aware too for they did not exclude themselves from their stinging barbs, as the “Song Devoid of Sense” shows.
I discovered Guillaiume de Poitier’s poem at a delightful website dedicated to poetry in translation, aptly called poetryintranslation.com. The poem inspired me to create a “reflection” in images and words. PowerPoint struck me as the right vehicle for my purpose because I could embed sound files of my reading the poem and provide links to my commentary, a prose reflection in the imagined voice of the poet.
I provide part of that slideshow on the following page, trimmed for the web and minus the sound files, slides containing the original poem and original digital artwork serving as my visual commentary.
Allow me to introduce Guillaiume de Poitier and his song…..