Aurélia Lassaque was born in 1983 and raised in the south of France, near Toulouse. She is a bilingual poet who composes in French and Occitan, the language of the medieval troubadours and Frédéric Mistral. Occitan, now an endangered language, is still spoken in Southern France, in Val d’Aran (Spain) and a few valleys in the Piedmont region of Italy. Lassaque is a scholar as well as a poet, having studied Romance Languages at Montpellier University and completing a PhD thesis on Occitan Baroque drama. She is an active advocate of linguistic diversity and acts as literary advisor for the "Paroles Indigo" festival in France and Africa and the “Premio Ostana Scritture in Lingua Madre” in Italy.
Lassaque has developed a way of writing that is wholly bilingual and her own. In her work, Occitan and French 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 the collection Pour que chantent les salamandres, 'Solstice, The Call of Janus', embodies a duality which is characteristic for her writing. Her poetry oscillates not only between two languages, but between two worlds. Conversely, nature, which as a theme 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. Often, her poetry leaves the page. She accompanies her readings with short songs from the Occitan folklore traditions. The oral dimension is essential to Lassaque's approach of text, which, sometimes, predates writing.
Her last book, En quête d'un visage (In Search of a Face), rewrites Homer's ancient myth through a dialogue between Ulysses and Elle/Ela (She). Although "She" has no name, Aurélia gives her a voice, through which we re-encounter perennial themes of love and abandonment, war and separation, and the loss of identity they engender. An echo of formal Greek poïesis, before drama, song and poetry were separated, this text was conceived as much for the stage as for the page, introducing eight Cantos with prose poems where a third voice adopts the role of the chorus in ancient classical drama. This profoundly feminine rewrite of an archetypal story explores the toll that war and separation take on those who leave and those who are left behind: "Give me a name, Ulysses / give me a name so that I can wait for you". The use of Occitan befits the themes addressed in the book, Occitan being a language that is, like the 'She' recreated by the poet, in danger of being forgotten, in the shadow of a globalized world dominated by fewer and fewer languages.
Cinquena Sason. Toulouse, Letras d'oc, 2006
Pour que chantent les salamandres. Paris, éditions Bruno Doucey, 2013
En quête d'un visage. Éditions Bruno Doucey, Paris, 2017
Solstice and Other poems. (Tr. James Thomas), Francis Boutle Publishers, London, 2012
De zang van de salamanders. (Tr. Peter Boreas), Azulpress, Maastricht, 2014
שירת הסלמנדרה. (Tr. Amir Or), Keshev Publishing House, Tel Aviv, 2014
For å la salamanderen synge (Tr. Tom Lotherington), Forlaget Oktober, Oslo, 2015
Per què canten les salamandres. (Tr. Albert Mestres), LaBreu Edicions, Barcelona, 2017
Ombras de Luna − Ombres de Lune. Éditions de la Margeride, 2009
E t'entornes pas − Et ne te retourne pas. Éditions de la Margeride, 2010
Lo sòmi d'Euridícia – le rêve d'Eurydice. Éditions les Aresquiers, 2011
Lo sòmi d'Orfèu – le rêve d'Orphée. Éditions les Aresquiers, 2011
La ronda del fènix ‒ La ballade du phénix. Éditions de la Lune bleue, 2012
D'aucèls sens cara – Des oiseaux sans visage. Editions les Monteils, 2013
Connivences 1. Aurélia Lassaque and Zingonia Zingone & the artist Robert Lobet, Éditions de la Margeride, 2016
Connivences 4. Aurélia Lassaque, Victor Rodriguez-Núñez, Rolando Kattan and the artist Robert Lobet, Éditions de la Margeride, 2017