"Fairley's endlessly careful and brilliantly resourceful translations . . . never fails to address himself to the music of the originals."—Daily Telegraph
"Celan is essentially a religious poet, and although he speaks with the voice of one forsaken by God, he never. abandons the struggle to make sense of what has no sense, to come to grips with his own Jewishness. Negation, blasphemy, and irony take the place of devotion; the forms of righteousness are mimicked; Biblical phrases are turned around, subverted, made to speak against themselves. But in so doing, Celan draws nearer to the source of his despair, the absence that lives in the heart of all things."—Paul Auster
Celan’s poems resist straightforward exegesis. They are not linear progressions, moving from word to word, from point A to point B. Rather, they present themselves to a reader as intricate networks of semantic densities. Intentional puns, oblique personal references, intentional misquotations, bizarre neologisms: these are the sinews that bind Celan’s poems together. It is not possible to keep up with him, to follow his drift at every step along the way. One is guided more by a sense of tone and intention than by textual scrutiny. Celan does not speak explicitly, but he never fails to make himself clear. There is nothing random in his work, no gratuitous elements to obscure the perception of the poem. One reads with one’s skin, as if by osmosis, unconsciously absorbing nuances, overtones, syntactical twists, which in themselves are as much the meaning of the poem as its analytic content.
Paul Celan (1920–1970) was a Romanian-born German language poet and translator. He was born as Paul Antschel to a Jewish family in Czernowitz, in the then Kingdom of Romania (now Chernivtsy, Ukraine), and adopted the pseudonym "Paul Celan." He became one of the major German-language poets of the post-World War II era.
Distributed for The Sheep Meadow Press
6.5 x 9, 224 pages