Homage to Philippe Sollers &/in his Paradis

Philippe Sollers died earlier this month at 86. I was just now able to retrieve my translation of extracts from Paradis II (1986, Gallimard), his most experimental book, extracts first published in 1987 in Paris Exiles 3/4, & in The Literary Review, N.J., 1987.   From Paradise II … OH YES ONE SIM PLY HAS TO wind up preferring time to oneself desiring time for itself wanting it in … Read more Homage to Philippe Sollers &/in his Paradis

“Black Flakes / Schwarze Flocken:” Celan & Ukraine

This poem, probably written in or after July 1944, most likely in Czernowitz, today Chernivtsi, after returning from the forced labor-camp he had been interned in. The ms. has his note: “In memory of the snow at railway station Pascani, workcamp Radazani,” referring to the village of Pascani in Moldavia. It was probably then that he learned of the death of his parents, Leo & Fritzi Antschel who had … Read more “Black Flakes / Schwarze Flocken:” Celan & Ukraine

Cartographies of the In-Between

The 2011 collection of essays & takes on my work, edited by Peter Cockelbergh & published by Literaria Pragensia Books in Prague (Czech Republic) under Louis Armand’s auspices, has just been released as a pdf that can be downloaded here  (though, I am told, a few actual copies remain & can be purchased here directly from the press). Below, the table of contents preceded by 3 extracts from the … Read more Cartographies of the In-Between


Hello everyone! After a year & more sheltering at home in Brooklyn we are happy to head out to Europe, fully vaxxed, to pick up on gigs delayed by the pandemic. Four events are central, all taking place in Luxembourg: 1) our most recent KARSTIC ACTIONS/WORKS at Galerie Simoncini; 2) Pierre Receiving the Batty Weber Award; 3) the CNL celebrating his 75th birthday on 14 July (details to be announced) 4) the … Read more KARSTIC ACTIONS/WORKS Luxembourg & More!

Paul Celan: Speak, You Too

As chance, whatever that is, would have it, after being silenced by yesterday afternoon’s zoom-bombing just as I was about to speak on translating Paul Celan for Princeton, my publisher, FSG, as part of their 75th birthday celebration, just now published a little video (recorded 6 weeks ago by Nicole Peyrafitte) of me reading my translation of Celan’s poem “Speak You Too,”  something — speak, neither you nor I … Read more Paul Celan: Speak, You Too

Remembering Mourid: 10 in Translation, Online

With thanks to the ever excellent & useful ArabLit for this compilation: On February 14, poet and memoirist Mourid Barghouti died in Amman, Jordan, having spent most of his life in various exiles: Below, a selection from his work available in translation, online. PROSE Excerpt from I Saw Ramallah, with an introduction by Edward W. Said, translated by Ahdaf Soueif It is very hot on the bridge. A drop … Read more Remembering Mourid: 10 in Translation, Online

Thinking of Abdelwahab Meddeb…

… the great Tunisian poet, writer, essayist & translator who would have turned 75 today. A good friend for several decades, I learned much from him about the literature & culture of the Maghreb and the wider Arab world. (See my essay on Abdelwahab & his work in my Arabia (Not So) Deserta. And wondering why his book The Malady of Islam, which I co-translated & published back in … Read more Thinking of Abdelwahab Meddeb…

Paul Celan — “Psalm”

60 years ago today Paul Celan wrote the poem “Psalm,” in Paris most likely. Below my translation, the original & the commentary by Barbara Wiedemann & myself (from Memory Rose into Threshold Speech).   PSALM NoOne kneads us again of earth and clay, noOne conjures our dust. Noone. Praised be thou, NoOne. For your sake we want to flower. Toward you. A Nothing we were, we are, we will … Read more Paul Celan — “Psalm”

4 Poems by Paul Celan, with Commentaries

As I am in the process of proofing my final Paul Celan volume of translations — Memory Rose into Threshold Speech: The Collected Earlier Poetry — to be published by FSG in early November, the month Celan turns 100, I thought I’d post a few of the earliest poems that speak to me this morning (which, I guess, allows me to simultaneously alleviate the tediousness of proofing & the … Read more 4 Poems by Paul Celan, with Commentaries

On the 50th Anniversary of Nelly Sachs’ Passing

The great Jewish German-Swedish poet & playwright Nelly Sachs passed on this day, 12 May, 1970. Raised in Germany, the rise of nazism in the thirties terrified her so much that at one point she lost the ability to speak, as she would remember in verse: “When the great terror came/I fell dumb.” In 1940 she escaped with her mother on the last flight from Nazi Germany to Sweden, a week … Read more On the 50th Anniversary of Nelly Sachs’ Passing