"An indispensable poet for those who would understand the twentieth century."—George Steiner
Here are the long overdue translations of Paul Celan’s Romanian poems (one poem dated 1947) by a great poet, Nina Cassian: they contain the buds, bloom, and deathly flowering of the obsessions found in all of Celan’s work—death, drowning, deportation, love, pride, loneliness, the magic of language. The book also includes important essays by Nina Cassian, on Celan’s early life and work, and post-WWII Bucharest and Paris.
Letter from Paul Celan to Nina Cassian, 1947
“Ingrate! . . . Seeing yourself simultaneously in the double posture of sleeping bird and fountain pen…the foul mouths of Prosperity will never be able to say we did not love each other. Let the sea come over us and let our brother-sharks gobble us up! [signed] Paul (more African than ever).”
Paul Celan was born Paul Ancel of a Jewish family in Romania in 1920. In 1942 his parents were deported and died in an extermination camp. Celan escaped but was in a labour camp until 1944. In 1948 he settled in Paris, where he took up the study of German literature and became a lecturer at the Ecole Normale Superieur. Paris remained his home until his suicide by drowning in 1970.
Nina Cassian was born in Romania and died at her home on Roosevelt Island. In her lifetime, she published sixty books. Principally a poet, she wrote fiction and children's books, and was also a composer and translator (notably of Shakespeare, Moliere, Brecht).
Distributed for Sheep Meadow Press
6.5 x 9, 72 pages