Raleigh Rambles

John Dancy-Jones at large!

Modern Troubadour and Local Translator Present Occitan to Triangle

In October, the Triangle will be entertained by a true modern-day troubadour.  Miquèl Decòr, a prolific and original poet who carries on the ancient literary tradition of writing and performing in the Occitan (Oc) language, will be sharing his works at poetry readings in Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Pittsboro. 

            The poet and his translator, Raleigh resident Jeannette Rogers, will read in Occitan and English from two of his books which Rogers translated, “Wild Roman Byways” and “Heirs of the Moon.”   These poetry readings, a collaboration between Meredith College and the Center for European Studies at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, are free and open to the public: 

  • Tuesday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m., Global Fedex Center, UNC-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, N.C.
  • Thursday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m., The Joyful Jewel, Pittsboro, N.C.
  • Thursday, Oct. 14 at 8 p.m., Carswell Concert Hall, Meredith College, Raleigh, N.C.

            Decòr is a native and resident of the Languedoc region of France where the troubadours lived nearly a thousand years ago.  From the 11th through the 13th centuries, 500 troubadours wrote and performed in Occitan throughout Europe.  During that time they invented many forms of poetry, as well as biography and literary criticism, while they shifted the focus of literature in Western Europe from war to love.  Modern Oc poets provide the connection to the significant literary heritage of the troubadours. 

            The author of 10 books, including poetry, drama and history, Decòr has been involved in many French cultural events and appeared on French television and radio.  This is the poet’s first visit to the United States. 

The information above is from Jeannette Rogers, who translates Decòr’s work and arranged for his visit to the U.S.  Jeannette is a dear old friend who is fluent in French and creating a wonderful body of work as she develops historical novels set in medieval southern France and translates French and Occitan poetry. 

Occitan is a Latin-sounding ancient version of the French tongue, one of the many endangered languages around the world.  Miquèl Decòr and my friend Jeannette, who is learning Occitan as she translates it and works with Miquèl on trilingual presentations of poetry, are important figuress in an emerging renewal of of the language in French culture. As UNC’s press release states:

 He was bathed in the culture of Occitan from his birth under the spell of his godfather, Uncle Jean, an actor. When he left home to study in Béziers, distance and longing caused him to write poetry in Occitan, his mother tongue.

Decor press release (loads pdf)

Miquèl Decòr

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October 2, 2010 - Posted by | literary

2 Comments »

  1. Thanks John, this is great. I’ll send out a tweet and repost on FB too.

    Comment by Michael Graziano | October 9, 2010

  2. Thank you for echoing one of our major occitan voices, still so much hushed, despised and discriminated against by France, the self-boasting homeland of the Human Rights.
    Marie-Christine Coste-Rixte
    vice-présidente du PEN-club de langue d’oc.

    Comment by Rixte MArie-Christine | November 2, 2010


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