Paul Celan

(Cernăuţi, Bukovin) Chernivtsi, Ukraine
Paul Celan
(Cernăuţi, Bukovin) Chernivtsi, Ukraine
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Illegibility

Rating: 3.1
Illegibility of this
World. All twice-over.

Robust Clocks
agree the Cracked-Hour,
hoarsely.

You, clamped in your Depths,
climb out of yourself
for ever.
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COMMENTS
Fabrizio Frosini 26 December 2015
''.. with Paul Celan we are presented with what essayist Leith Morton referred to as the ‘paradox of pain’. Recognised as one of the most important Post-War European poets, Celan’s poems of trauma and loss in works such as Death Fugue draw on what Morton describes as “the solution to the problem of saying the unsayable: letting language speak for itself”. As a survivor of the Holocaust, Celan’s language became a thing of anguish, associated with arbiters of unspeakable suffering, and thus in his poetry he seeks to deconstruct and redesign some of the signifiers of that pain. There is a duality at play – a tension between what is said and what can be fully experienced. There is an estrangement from language, but also a desire to convey through language some unfathomable but simultaneously direct emotion. The results, even in the whimsically tender lines of Night Ray and Corona, are saturated with loss. Later works are more fragmented and intractable, wanting to be felt through words, but shrouded in something deeper than words. Celan seems to challenge and rearrange the emotional alphabet, such that trees fly up to meet birds and a protagonist is healed to pieces. There is a sense of writing which finds solace in obfuscation; an acknowledgement of the void, but also a need to seek definition against the void, to be felt as the one ‘who is invisible enough to see you’. To undercut the incompleteness of the wordplay is to give it its ultimate value.'' [Janey Goulding]
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