Paul Celan: Fifty Years Later: Tenebrae & 5 More

It was exactly 50 years ago, on the night of 19 to 20 April 1970 that Paul Celan left his apartment on the avenue Emile Zola, and succumbed to his psychic demons: the Pont Mirabeau (an actual bridge over the Seine that is also a poem by Apollinaire) is where he decided to put an end to his life by going into the Seine. His body was found further downstream on … Read more Paul Celan: Fifty Years Later: Tenebrae & 5 More

On Paul Verlaine’s 172nd birthday…

…here — via the very useful Lyrikzeitung & Poetry News — is a translation of Verlaine’s most famous (& famously untranslatable) poem Chanson d’automne into Yiddish by Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger. Born in Czernowitz in 1924, this young woman, a cousin of Paul Celan’s (they would on occasion meet and sing together & talk poetry at Celan’s grandfather’s brother house on Sabbat evenings), wrote poetry in German and died at 18 of typhus in Michailovka on the … Read more On Paul Verlaine’s 172nd birthday…

Paul Celan and the Meaning of Language — An Interview with Pierre Joris

Above right: Paul Celan, passport photo Breathturn into Timestead: The Collected Later Poetry of Paul Celan A Bilingual Edition Translated and with Commentary by Pierre Joris Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 736 pages,ISBN-10: 0374125988   Doug Valentine with Pierre Joris Paul Celan and the Meaning of Language An Interview with Pierre Joris   There is great pleasure to be found in Paul Celan’s poetry. His dazzling neologisms (“wordwall”, “smokethin”, “icethorn”) … Read more Paul Celan and the Meaning of Language — An Interview with Pierre Joris

PJ & NP: On The Road Again…

…SAN FRANCISCO, OAKLAND, MINNEAPOLIS, PRINCETON, NYC, SETE, MARSEILLES, BARJOLS, AIX-EN-PROVENCE, PARIS… Our next four months are filled with truly exciting performances, readings, screenings, collaborations, book launches, art shows & we sure are looking forward to see you here or there. Meanwhile, thank you for your support & happy spring — keep in touch! Nicole & Pierre SAN-FRANCISCO Wednesday, March 18  7PM Breathturn Into Timestead: The Collected Later Poetry of Paul Celan with poet-translator Pierre … Read more PJ & NP: On The Road Again…

“Meridian” Translation awarded Scaglione Prize

Here’s what the jury had to say about their choice: Paul Celan’s The Meridian was originally delivered as an acceptance speech to the German Academy for Language and Poetry, which had honored him in 1960 with its Georg Büchner Prize for Literature. It ranks as its author’s most powerful statement concerning the mysterious but powerful bond between poetry and life. Writing in the shadow of the Holocaust, Celan asks … Read more “Meridian” Translation awarded Scaglione Prize

Talking of Celan in Philadelphia Tomorrow

THE HOLOCAUST EXPERIENCE IN THE POETRY OF PAUL CELAN A conversation with Pierre Joris, moderated by Al Filreis KELLY WRITERS HOUSE Wexler Family Program 6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe hosted by: Al Filreis I’ll be in conversation with Al Filreis concerning what I consider the very often oversimplified views of the experience of Khurbn — to use Jerome Rothenberg’s “dark word” which I prefer to either “holocaust” or “Shoa” … Read more Talking of Celan in Philadelphia Tomorrow

Two Uncollected Poems by Paul Celan

As I work on commentaries for my collected Paul Celan translations (not a Complete Collected Celan, just all my translations starting with Breathturn) a few poems never included in any volume, though now gathered in the German Collected Editions, seemed relevant to include among the annotations. Here are two of these, from the time of SNOWPART ( i.e. 1968): 24 RUE TOURNEFORT You and your kitchensink German — yes, sink-, yes, before … Read more Two Uncollected Poems by Paul Celan

Jean Bollack (1923-2012)

When I think of Jean Bollack — philologist, philosopher, hermeneut, translator, commentator, friend to Paul Celan & irritant to many — the first word that comes to mind is “décrasser,” a French term that means to clean, to scrub or more powerfully, to scour, even dip into a bath of acid to remove the accumulated  gangue of lazy thought & language. He did this mostly to the Greek tragedies and the pre-socratic … Read more Jean Bollack (1923-2012)

Paul Celan from “Eigedunkelt”

Alexandra Bentz – Mezzo-Sopran, Aribert Reimann aus Eingedunkelt für Alt-Solo, “Füll die Ödnis” Here is the original poem followed by my translation:   Füll die Ödnis in die Augensäcke, den Opferruf, die Salzflut, komm mit mir zu Atem und drüber hinaus.   Shovel the void into the eyebags, the sacrificecall, the saltflood, come with me to breath and out beyond.