Archive for September, 2013

Romance in France

Just got back from France, where we were at the wedding of the poet Owen Sheers, in a Chateau near Galliac. (No photos of it here, as this isn’t Hello, but the service included a beautiful reading by Owen’s mother of the Edwin Muir poem ‘The Confirmation’, with its perfect first line: ‘Yes, yours, my love, is the right human face’)

We made a little break of it afterwards, playing pétanque, driving through sunflower fields to explore the walled beaux villages and vineyards, and buying lovely local food to gorge on in our gite: tartes, radishes, cornichons, steaks with Roquefort (we visited the ancient caves carved out of the cliffs, with their mould-inducing draughts), snails, merguez sausages, foies gras and a bag of mirabelles – the tiny golden plums made poetically immortal by giving a title to Annie Freud’s last collection. (You can read her poem about them here)

A lovely way to end the summer, and interesting to be in the land of the troubadours – according to wikipedia the ‘French word troubadour was first recorded in 1575 in an historical context to mean “langue d’oc poet at the court in the 12th and 13th century”’ and most of the churches and villages we visited were of that era. I haven’t read much troubadour poetry beyond Ezra Pound’s translations (could anyone recommend any good anthologies?) and they are to blame for the sestina (it’s too long – Elizabeth Bishop’s can’t really justify the other billion boring ones) but I still enjoyed imagining them wandering across the same landscapes, composing a sonnet or alba

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