In Heidegger’s Germany there’s no Place for Paul Celan
I have just added this Joris essay as a comment elsewhere in the Poethead blog which hides it really, it’s an important essay on Paul Celan. Celan’s poem ‘Irisch’ is linked under Celan/Translation here. I first read about Todtnauberg a few years ago, the meeting of the two men that Joris delineates in the essay is a worthwhile (indeed excellent) read for those of us who like to understand more about the poems that we study or ponder upon.
There is a lot to ponder upon in the essay Translation at the mountain of death, in terms of dramatis personae and created image, so I am linking it here as part of the PH Translation and Linguistics series. The link is from Nomadics Joris’ early online blog, which is also linked in Manifesto beneath the Todtnauberg essay.
Whilst searching out the Nomadics links( Pierre Joris is currently writing Homad ) I found his link regarding the creation of the Nomadics Manifesto, which is also of interest in terms of Outsider Poetry. Those readers interested in the areas of Nomadics and Outsider Poetry should continue their reading at the P. Joris Homad site.
Excerpt from Joris’ essay here :
“Celan, like many other poets, is concerned with thought, with philosophy, and in his work we find, as Pöggeler puts it, Auseinander-setzungen with a variety of philosophers and thinkers: with Democritus in the poem “Engführung”; with Spinoza in the poems “Pau, nachts,” and “Pau, später” ; or with Adorno in his single prose work, Gespräch im Gebirg. It is therefore not surprising to find Celan concerned with the figure of Martin Heidegger. This concern is ambivalent, to say the least, involving both attraction and repulsion. Pöggeler reminds us that as far back as 1957, Celan had wanted to send his poem “Schliere” to Heidegger, but also, that, when somewhat later Heidegger had his famous meeting with Martin Buber in Münich, Celan felt very uneasy and was not ready to give Heidegger a “Persilschein”, a “Persil-passport” i.e. did not want to whitewash the politically compromised philosopher. Celan, at that time, was reading Heidegger’s Nietzsche as well as Nietzsche himself, and seems to have thought highly of Heidegger’s interpretations. Nietzsche’s thought is also, albeit liminally, present in Celan’s poetry, for example in “Engführung,” where the line “Ein Rad, langsam, rollt aus sich selbst”, is a formula used by Nietzsche in the chapter “Von den 3 Verwandlungen” in Zarathustra. Heidegger himself was intermittently interested in Celan’s work and came, whenever possible, to the rare public readings Celan gave in Germany.
- Translation at the Mountain of Death.
- Notes Towards a Nomadics Manifesto (Part One)
- The Homad Site
- Todtnauberg by Paul Celan (Harper’s Archive)