Translated by Michael Hamburger
This is a portable selection of some of this great writer's most essential work, translated by Michael Hamburger, who for more than forty years has provided the English-speaking world with the truest access to Celan. Arranged in order of the poems' original publication, this volume is an essential distillation of Celan's œuvre, both for those who already cherish his writing and those seeking to discover it for the first time.
“Even we readers who can hear poetry only dimly in German can sense the greatness of [Celan’s] invention: the cadences of a music tilted against music's complacency; words punished for their plausibility by being reinvented and fused together and broken apart; syntax chopped and stretched to crack and expose its crust of dead rhetoric. Michael Hamburger has earned our gratitude...”
—Robert Pinsky, The New Republic
“[Celan’s] poems help guide us... in both poetry and life... [W]hat a fine job Michael Hamburger has done.”
—Peter Filkins, Partisan Review
Paul Celan is the preeminent poet of the Holocaust. His chilling verse, evocative yet spare, is among the essential writing of his era and our own. Celan was born into a German-speaking Jewish family in Romania in 1920. His parents were killed in a Nazi labor camp in 1942, and Celan was himself imprisoned that same year. He escaped after eighteen months, eventually settling in Paris, where he lived—writing his acclaimed poetry and translating the word of Rimbaud, Blok, Dickinson, Mandelstam, and others—until his death by suicide in 1970. With Rilke and Hölderlin, he is generally regarded as the greatest German-language poet of the twentieth century.
Paperback / $12.00 (Can $12.99) / ISBN 978-0-89255-424-9 / 85 pages / Poetry