lyrikline blog

Readings to remember: Paul Celan

Posted in Paul Celan by lyrikline on 18. March 2014

In Catholicism, All Souls’ Day is the day to commemorate the dead souls, and annually occurs on November 2. In today’s clip we see Paul Celan (November 23, 1920 – April 20, 1970), born into a German-speaking Jewish family in Cernăuți*, reading his poem Allerseelen (All Souls) from the poetry book Sprachgitter (1959).

Celan’s texts can appear hermetically sealed. Not only is a contextualising often difficult in his work, also linguistic, historical, and religious modes interpenetrate and counteract each other.
In Allerseelen, some say, Celan speaks about the act of poetic creation (writing) and commemorates so to speak the creations themselves, his poems, which he has seen as living souls of its own kind.

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Here you will find the original poem and a very nice English translation by Michael Hamburger.

Listen to more poems by Paul Celan on lyrikline.

* Chernivtsi, Northern Bukovina, a region then part of Romania and earlier part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (now part of Ukraine)

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