The Mays of Ventadorn

The Mays of Ventadorn

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Author: W.S. Merwin

Publisher: Copper Canyon Press (2019)

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning poet W.S. Merwin turns his mastery of language and powerful attention to the origins of twelfth-century Provençal troubadours. Merwin deftly blends personal anecdotes—his pilgrimage at the age of eighteen to visit Ezra Pound at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, his purchase of an abandoned farmhouse in Quercy—with his exploration of Southern France’s rich history and linguistic heritage.

“Merwin’s conception of poetry is devotional in its service to other languages and cultures. The Mays of Ventadorn is not only a story about troubadours handing down their songs through the ages, but about how poetry itself seems to engineer twists of fate in the lives of its acolytes.”

–New York Review of Books