Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Aimless Reading: The C's, Part 15.5 (Paul Celan)

Collected Prose
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Celan, Paul
Waldrop, Rosmarie, Tr.
Collected Prose

I bought this a few years back at Talking Leaves. The slim hardcover contains pretty much all of the prose Celan ever wrote. It amounts to twelve short pieces, a quarter of which are speeches given at awards ceremonies. Two or three others are answers to questionnaires. In other words, Celan put everything he had into the poems. As translator Waldrop puts it: "For Celan, whose poems moved ever closer to silence, prose was too noisy a medium."

Or, as Celan himself says:

Art, you will remember, is a puppet-like, iambic, five-footed thing without -- and this last characteristic has its mythological validation in Pygmalion and his statue -- without offspring.

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