Paul Celan and Nelly Sachs: Correspondence

Mark Thwaite on Celan and the demands of reading
Photograph: Source
Mark Thwaite writes about poet and Holocaust survivor Paul Celan in light of Carcanet's Correspondence between Celan and Nelly Sachs (link via Ready Steady Book): 'Celan's words are limpid, but appear so only if we adjust our expectations, allow his words to adjust our expectations: only if we are prepared to listen. Celan’s exactness clashes with what we think of as exact: the everyday is not exact, it is a cliché; realism requires vertiginous originality. But how can one be exact about what is truly unspeakable? One can only write knowing that one approaches and approximates, and that language fails you the while; you run after exactness, but the world gets away and your words fail. Beckett taught us about this failure because he knew failure and writing were synonymous.' [Read More]

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