Paul Celan

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.