Additional Book Information
Series: NYRB Classics
Publication Date: January 10, 2017
ProensaAn Anthology of Troubadour Poetry
selected and translated from the Occitan by Paul Blackburn, edited and with an introduction by George Economou
The poet Paul Blackburn studied and translated the troubadours for twenty years, and the result of that long commitment is Proensa, an anthology of thirty poets of the eleventh through thirteenth centuries, which has since established itself not only as a powerful and faithful work of translation but as a work of poetry in its own right. Blackburn’s Proensa, George Economou writes, “will take its place among Gavin Douglas’ Aeneid, Golding’s Metamorphoses, the Homer of Chapman, Pope, and Lattimore, Waley’s Japanese, and Pound’s Chinese, Italian, and Old English.”
Shortly after Proensa was first published by Robert Creeley in Mallorca in 1953, Paul Blackburn wrote his own best definition of these songs: ‘To give / and man enough to receive, LOVE, / when he finds it offered. / To take the sun and the goods of earth, while it lasts.’ Over sixty years later his voicings of the troubadours still ring fresh—leaping with joy, sorrowing with duende.
Blackburn’s forgotten translation of Troubadour poets, Proensa, is a testament to translation as a test of truth...never did strings plucked at such a distance reverberate so closely.
—Paul Pines, Big Bridge
Blackburn has skillfully incorporated musical elements and also "high" diction and syntax...a great translation.
—Stephen Fredman, Chicago Review
Spare, modern, and abstract without violating the artistic intricacy of the original...Proensa is a boon to those who will never experience the pleasure of studying the troubadours in their original accents but who now can appreciate their complex beauty in Paul Blackburn’s dense dynamic re-creations.
—Patricia Harris, Romance Philology