Occitan poetry  980-2006

by Joan-Frederic Brun



Sully André-Peyre

Born in 1890 at the Cailar, and dead in Aigues Vives in 1961. One of the leading provençal poets of the XXth century. He published between 1921 and 1961 a high standard  literary journal called 'Marsyas' and won in 1948 the 'Mistral prize' aiming at rewarding the best provençal literature. 

He did not agree with the occitan reform and used only the traditional provençal spelling employed by Roumanille and Mistral. His marked hostility to occitanism is perhaps one of the reasons for which he has been so injustly forgotten. However his very exquisite poetry fully renews the field of provençal literature. 

I specially appreciate his way to gently suggest erotic emotion in his verses. 


Medieval poetry: the kingdom of love
XVI-XVIII century: tasty baroque antiliteratures
XIX th century: toward a renaissance
XIX th century (1854-1914):  spreading and sclerosis of the Provençal miracle
XX th century (1920-1965): the anguish of no future
XX th century (1965-1981): "un país que vòl viure" (a country that just wants to live)
XX th century (1981-2000): postoccitanisme
XXI th century: just a living literature among many other ones? 


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Sully André-Peyre





Lou fiò que porte dins ma raubo,
De l'escabour à la primo-aubo,
E de l'aubo au jour avespra,
Crèmo li meissoun e li prat,

Crèmo li camin e li colo,
Li vièi palun clafi de bolo,
E cremara meme la mar,
A la fin de moun viage amar.

nº303 - 1953





Me vire vers la niue, que trai à la rapiho
Un beluguié d'estello au dessus dis Aupiho.

Me vire vers lou jour, que trai à la rapiho
Sus la terro enflourado un revoulun d'abiho.

Me vire vers l'amour, que trai à la rapiho
Uno mesclo de man e que me desabiho.

Me vire vers la mort, que trai à la rapiho
Lis estello au noun-rèn, li man e lis abiho.


Marsyas nº321 - 1955



That fire that I carry..


That fire that I carry in my dress,
from twilight until dawn,
from dawn until evening,
is burning hays and harvests,

is burning ways, hills,
old marsh, bulrush,
and will burn even the sea,
at the end of my bitter trip.







 I turn to the night, which randomly throws a glittering of stars above the Alpilles*.   

I turn to the day, which randomly throws on the blossoming countryside a swirl of bees. 

I turn to love, which randomly throws an interlacing of hands and which undresses me.

 I turn to death, which randomly throws stars in the nought, hands and bees. 


* Alpilles: famous hills near Arles, emblematic of Provence

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