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ECONOMOU, GEORGE (1934- ) George
Economou started his career at the forefront of the New York spoken-word scene and, most recently, has translated the medieval poem Piers Plowman. Thus, like Ezra pound, Economou examined the old and the new, the anachronistic and slang—and found that they were often indistinguishable. Also like Pound, Economou was influenced by the Provençal troubadours; he edited Paul blackburn's translations of them, and the name of Trobar, a magazine he founded and edited with Robert kelly, devoted to deep image poetry, refers to the Old Provençal word for poetry—literally, "to find" or "to invent." The terms are descriptive: Economou used what he found in medieval poetry to invent the new oral poetry of modern New York (see poetry in performance). Like many poets of his generation—Jerome rothenberg and Blackburn—Economou saw poetry as "something said, spoken" and not something that "merely lands on the page" ("Some Notes" 657).
Born in Great Falls, Montana, Economou taught at Long Island University and the University of Oklahoma. He also cofounded the Chelsea Review and received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1988, 1999). At Columbia University, his "ambitious" dissertation described the Goddess Natura in medieval allegory (Witke 132); it was subsequently published as The Goddess Natura in Medieval Literature in 1972 (and reprinted in 2002).
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