Aurélia Lassaque

- France -

Aurélia Lassaque (b. 1983) is a bilingual poet in French and Occitan. Interested in the interaction between various forms of art, she often cooperates with visual artists, videomakers, dancers and particularly musicians. She has performed all over the world, e.g. in Europe, Latin America, North Africa, Scandinavian countries and India. She is an active advocate of linguistic diversity and acts as literary advisor for the "Paroles Indigo" festival in Arles and the “Premio Ostana Scritture in Lingua Madre” (Italy). Aurélia Lassaque’s poetry collection Pour que chantent les salamandres (Editions Bruno Doucey, 2013) has been published in Norwegian (Forlaget Oktober, Oslo, 2015), Hebrew (Keshev Publishing House, Tel Aviv, 2014), Dutch (AzulPress Maastricht, 2014) and English (Francis Boutle Publishers, London, 2012). She has also written a doctoral dissertation on the Occitan Baroque drama.

“She writes in two different languages, but speaks with one single voice so much is her poetry conceived to be voiced, sung, danced. "She" refers to Aurélia Lassaque, a young lady whose writing day began thousands of years ago [...]. In Mexico, in Brazil, in the whole wide Amerindian world, Aurélia Lassaque would be something of a shaman; her readers would approach her poems as one might gather wild plants to medicate oneself or fend off curse [...]. Aurélia Lassaque, faithful to the happy rumor of childhood, invites us to pagan feasts, primitive ring-dances, rustic fantasmagories in which two stories always mingle - one old, the other contemporary -." Bruno Doucey.

She composes in two languages: French and Occitan, the latter being the language of troubadours and Frederic Mistral's. In her opuses these two languages marry, complete each other, hold a dialogue. She does not translate her work but, literally, composes in a bilingual way, moving from one language to the other on two different sheets of paper to finally end up with a poem simultaneously elaborated originally in two languages. The long opening poem of Pour que chantent les Salamandres collection, "Solstice, The Call of Janus", placed under the seal of the two-faced god, embodies a duality which is specific to her writing. Her poetry oscillates not only between two languages, but between two worlds. She unveils what is universal in the language of intimacy. She deals in timeless subjects within a form that is invariably contemporary. Conversely, Nature which is strongly present in her writing does not correspond to the classical dualist paradigms. The border lines dissolve between the worlds of humans, animals and plants.

If she writes and publishes her poems as collections, the oral dimension is essential to her approach of text and, sometimes, it antedates writing. The place she gives to voice partly explains the vitality of her stage actions or artistic collaborations. Sometimes, her readings are accompanied with short songs from the Occitan folklore tradition, simple stanzas sung in a sensual low-key voice that mixes strength and vulnerability. She has performed all over the world: in India, Latin America, Indonesia, the countries north and south of the Mediterranean, Scandinavia (in Norway, among others, where, in 2015, For å la salamanderen synge was published by the famous house Forlaget Oktober). She likes to invite other artists to share the stage with her: musicians, dancers, video makers, visual artists. Thus, she has collaborated with, to name but a few, the photographer and video maker Gaël Bonnefon or the artists Robet Lobet, Julie Baugnet, (for books by artists and for exhibitions in France, Italy and America). She is also associated with the author-composer Jodël Grasset Saruwatari, the singer Beñat Achiary, the musician Miquèu Montanaro, etc....

Her collections, which have been translated into English, Norwegian, Hebrew and Dutch, have received critical attention by, among others, The Guardian, in England, and by the famous literary supplement of Haaretz Daily in Israel : « […] The ”Solstice” collection of poems and poem-sequences is impressionistic and sensuous, glowing like "a beaker full of the warm South” » (Carole Rumens, The Guardian 11/2/2013) ; « […] In quite a few of these poems there is a mixture of ancient folk traditions and contemporary poetic devices, and much of their strength and uniqueness ensues from this uncommon combination. »

(Amir Beker, Haaretz Daily, 3/4/2015).

(English translation by Claude Bensimon)