In a recent interview with Jeffrey Yang for The Poetry Society, translator Richard Sieburth discusses the life of Louise Labé and sheds some light on the many names and identities taken by and, more often, given to this mysterious poet, including but not limited to:
- "La Belle Cordière"—The Fair Ropemaker (by the people of Medieval Lyon)
- sacred martyr of Love (by Rilke)
- a literary hoax/ a huge practical joke (by Mireille Huchon)
- tomboy (by Labé herself)
- an outright whore (by John Calvin)
- cortegiana honesta or “honest courtesan” (some scholars)
Sieburth also points out a pining Labé sestet “worthy of Bonnie Rait” and the (sexy) line that Nick Cave stole for his song, "Green Eyes."
Richard Sieburth’s translations of Labé’s poetry can be read in Love Sonnets and Elegies, which includes a preface by Karin Lessing.