11.19.2014

Louise Labé Love Sonnets & Elegies Giveaway



Cultivate your mind: one of my favorite lessons I learned while living in Paris. There are so many ways to do this but in our modern society of reality television and lowbrow entertainment, we have to make an extra effort to not let our intellectual and artistic passions go by the wayside. Reading poetry, especially if it's not something you have an appreciation for, can help break the cycle, which is why I'm so excited about this week's featured book, Louise Labé Love Sonnets & Elegies .

Louise Labé was the first recognized female French poet from the Renaissance period. The mere fact that she was a woman poet was very unusual for the time, but that she also wrote about romance, passion and desire was even more unique. New York Review Books, who has been reissuing classic books since 1999, has sent me Louise Labé Love Sonnets & Elegies and is kindly offering to giveaway a copy of this magnificent book of poetry to one lucky reader of The Daily Connoisseur.

In this book, with the French version on the left and the English translation on the right, Louise Labé's poems contain an agony, an ecstasy and a depth that any poetry lover will delight in.

Here is a sample of her work, Sonnet 11:

I live, I die: I flare up & I drown.
The colder I feel the hotter I burn:
Life is too hard & too soft in turn.
To every joy sorrow circles round:

All of a sudden I laugh & I weep,
Taking pleasure in each twinge of pain:
The moment I flower, I fade away:
The treasure I lose, a treasure I keep.

Inconstant Love is my most constant guide:
Whenever the pain grows beyond belief,
to my surprise, I feel nothing inside.

Then, convinced my bliss cannot be denied
And I'm about to climb joy's highest peak,
He reminds me of all my former grief.


Translated by Richard Sieburth

Here is the description of the book from New York Review Books:

Louise Labé, one of the most original poets of the French Renaissance, published her complete Works around the age of thirty and then disappeared from history. Rediscovered in the nineteenth century, her incandescent love sonnets were later translated into German by Rilke and appear here in a revelatory new English version by the award-winning translator Richard Sieburth.


Here are some reviews of Labé's work:

“The deeply learned Louise Labé knew well the love poetry of Sappho, Propertius, Ovid, and Petrarch, but she herself joined the ranks of these great Western tossers and turners by breaking with convention. Across five centuries, thanks to Richard Sieburth’s beautiful translations, her urgent voice, her embodied images, and her rapid, somehow breathless, lines come to us as if they were spoken yesterday.” --Susan Stewart

“Richard Sieburth has captured the vigor, intensity, and vernacular tang of Louise Labé’s startling poems. He has turned the ‘rhymed cordage as twined and tensile as rope’ of the fabled Belle Cordière, daughter of a ropemaker, into spirited poems in English.” --Rosanna Warren

"[Labé] laments for one alone, but the whole of nature unites with them: it is the lament for one who is eternal." — Rainer Maria Rilke

“A great poet, perhaps one of the greatest of all time.” —The Polar Bear, a character in Samuel Beckett’s Dream of Fair to middling Women



New York Review books are kindly offering to give away one copy of Louise Labé Love Sonnets & Elegies to a reader of The Daily Connoisseur. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only (terms set by publisher). Please enter via the rafflecopter widget below. The winner will be announced one week from today on the widget.

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This week I would love to know... Are you familiar with Louise Labé's work? Who is your favorite poet of all time? How have you been cultivating your mind lately?

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15 comments:

Agnes said...

I haven't heard of Louise Labé before, but it looks to me like I should have: her pieces have the same ethereal charm to them as those of my favorite Polish poet, Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska. It would be lovely to get to know Louise Labé's works better!

Lately I'm thinking more and more about reconnecting with my more mindful side - I used to be a like that as a teen, but then college and adulthood kicked in... As if now, I'm trying to read my kindle more (I love *real* books thousands times more than the digital versions, but I move a lot and quite frankly, kindle is not that bad either) and strive to eat my lunch on fresh air (I'm lucky enough to live in CA now, so I try to get the most of it!). But there's definitely room - and a need!- for more.

rhonda said...

I have been reading allot of memoirs about iconic women.entering into their worlds&learning from them.

Summer Smith said...

I have not heard of Louise Labé before. I find it hard to get into poetry. So, I have not as of yet found a poet I love. I did enjoy the poems Jewel put out years ago.

I have been cultivating my mind by trying to be more mindful of others, how I act and how I treat the space/people I live in. That means a lot of books on this subject as well as interacting with others. ;) I can, if I choose to be a very solitary person, so being out and about with others in mamas groups, etc. is a challenge for me to be there, be present and enjoy it. I also joined a book club at my local library. Reading books I would not pick and learning to not give up on them, but consider why someone wanted to read that specific book. Which is really great to gain perspective. Thanks for the giveaway once again! :)

Lisa McEvoy said...

I haven't heard of Louise Labe before but I shall make a point of reading some of her poems now! My favourite poet has always been Yeats, I lived in Ireland for a time and always felt that his poems embodied the wild landscape and people. Thank you for showing new books and poets as well as your great videos, it's lovely to be inspired to read something new!

Carolyn said...

I have many favorite poets. Of all time I would have to say Robert Frost. Lately I have been reading Mary Oliver. I have not heard of Louise Labe before however would be interested in learning more about her and her work. I have been cultivating my mind by deepening my yoga practice. It centers me and brings me to a place of peace.

Carolyn said...

I have many favorite poets. Of all time I would have to say Robert Frost. Lately I have been reading Mary Oliver. I have not heard of Louise Labe before however would be interested in learning more about her and her work. I have been cultivating my mind by deepening my yoga practice. It centers me and brings me to a place of peace.

Shlawna Sikochi said...

I am not familiar with Louise Labe, but that was a beautiful poem. I love poetry and am excited to read more from her. My favorite poet is Robert Frost.

Cathie Maud Cabot said...

I love Robert Frost, and Sara Teasdale. :)

Diana said...

Sadly, I am not familiar with Louise Labé's work, but I love the snippet you posted and to read more in this new book!

Anne Carpenter said...

I haven't heard of Louse Labe before. To choose a favorite poet is difficult. Although I prefer classic literature to poetry any day, I do like the works of John Dunn, Walt Whitman, T.S. Elliot, and Anne Sexton (random, I know).

As I am trying to learn French, I think this bilingual copy of Louise Labe's work would help. So, I might have to pick up a copy of this book on my own.

A.N. Garcia said...

I've been cultivating my mind by reading classic sci-fi books like I Am Legend and writing a novel for NaNoWriMo.

Jacquelyn. said...

I love Shel Silverstein poems. I don't know if it's because they are so simple or because I grew up reading them, but they are just lovely.

I also love Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde.

snappyjaye said...

The reminder to cultivate my mind was one of my favorite lessons from your book, Jennifer! Lately I've been doing so by working through Julia Cameroon's "The Artist's Way."

Linda Elliott said...

My favorite poet is Kahlil Gibran. I discovered him in college and loved it. I find some musicians are great poets through their lyrics. Jewel's album Spirit, Gavin DeGraw's album Free and Coldplay's Yellow all have amazing lyrics!

Susan said...

I also have not heard of Louise Labé before. My favorite poets are the ones I remember from high school--Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson. I like the idea of side-by side translations. That would have made things easier in my French Lit class!

 
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