September 15, 2005 Robert Kehew to Discuss the Poetic Tradition of Troubadours on Oct. 20

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Robert Saladini (202) 707-2692

Robert Kehew will discuss his recently published anthology of poetry of the French troubadours, "Lark in the Morning: The Verses of the Troubadours, a Bilingual Edition," at the Library of Congress at noon on Thursday, Oct. 20, in Room 119 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C.

The event, sponsored by the Library’s John W. Kluge Center and the Alliance Française de Washington, is free and open to the public; no reservations are required.

Troubadours were lyric poets or poet-musicians writing in their native Provençal or Occitan in 12th and 13th century France. Their songs of romantic love, with pleasing melodies and intricate stanzaic patterns, have inspired poets and songwriters ever since, from Dante to Chaucer, from Renaissance sonneteers to the Romantics, and from Verlaine and Rimbaud to modern rock lyricists. Despite the incontrovertible influence of the troubadours on the development of both poetry and music in the West, there existed no comprehensive anthology of troubadour lyrics until "Lark in the Morning."

Kehew's anthology honors the meter, word play, punning and sound effects in the troubadours' works, while celebrating the often playful, bawdy and biting nature of the material. In the book, Kehew augments his own verse translations with those of two 20th century poets—Ezra Pound (1885-1972) and W. D. Snodgrass (b. 1926)—to provide a collection that captures both the poetic pyrotechnics of the original verse and the variety of troubadour voices.

Kehew is a poet and translator of poetry. His original poems have appeared in a number of literary journals including Revista Interamericana (the literary quarterly of the University of Puerto Rico), Potomac Review and the The Exquisite Corpse, and he has published translations of poetry in "Sparrow: A Yearbook of the Sonnet."

The Alliance Française, the largest network of French language and cultural centers in the world, is dedicated to promoting French language and culture, and to fostering friendly relations between Francophones and Francophiles. With more than 2,600 members, the Alliance Française of Washington, D.C., a nonprofit cultural and educational association headed by a Franco-American board of directors, offers a wide variety of courses, social activities and cultural events, including lectures, concerts, films, exhibits, guided visits to museums and discussion groups. For more information, visit the Web at

Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world’s best thinkers to stimulate and energize scholarly discussion, distill wisdom from the Library’s rich resources and interact with policymakers in Washington. For more information about the fellowships, grants and programs offered by the Kluge Center, contact the Office of Scholarly Programs, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, DC 20540-4860; telephone (202) 707-3302, or visit the Web at


PR 05-196
ISSN 0731-3527