Today in NYC: Marjorie Perloff on Paul Celan


Marjorie Perloff
The Last Hapsburg Poet: Paul Celan’s Love Poetry and the Limits
of Language

Wednesday, March 19, 6:30pm
Martin E. Segal Theatre


Paul Celan is usually regarded as the quintessential Holocaust poet—a poet whose mature years were spent in France, but who wrote his poetry, not in French, but in his native German—a German he so resented as the language of his oppressors that he had to reinvent it. But what happens when we look at Celan’s poetic language, especially his love lyric, elliptical and oblique as it is, in the context of its actual history and geography? Celan received a classical German education, as authorized by the centralized k. & k. (kaiserlich und königlich) government of the Hapsburg Empire. This lecture will reconsider the language of his earlier love poetry, in the light of Celan’s astonishing correspondence with the Austrian poet Ingeborg Bachmann. Join distinguished literary critic Marjorie Perloff as she takes a fresh look at Celan’s poetic practice.

Cosponsored by the Henri Peyre French Institute.

Free and open to the public. All events take place at The Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 Fifth Ave btwn 34th & 35th. The building and the venues are fully accessible. For more information please visit or call 212.817.2005 or e-mail

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