Excerpts from microliths by Paul Celan
translated by Pierre Joris
____________ [These are Celan’s first notes toward the conference project “On the Darkness of Poetry” which remained unfinished.] Pjoris 240 240.1 || Mysticism as wordlessness Poetry as form 241.2 The poem is inscribed as the figure of the whole language, but language remains invisible; what is actualizing itself — language — steps, as soon as it has happened, back into the realm of the possible.“Le poème,” writes Valéry, “est du langage à l’état naissant;” /“Poetry,” writes Valéry, “is language in the state of being born;”/ Language in statu nascendi, thus, language freeing itself. 241 241.1 Yesyes, not only the Geiger-, the “syllable-counters ” too, though despised by a literature that calls itself engaged, register something. ———————————— ↑ → 241.2 aesthesis is not enough; the … ;noesis is not enough; … ; what’s needed is personal presence, what’s needed is conversation; conversation and entertainment are different things; conversations are demanding, straining. 241.3 ——–——– Idea of the bracket (voicedness) syncope also the this vibrato of the words has se- mantic relevance 241.4 ______ The poet: always in partibus infidelium 241.5 ______ Das Kampaner Tal, p. 51, footnote: ↓ ||... “as on the Jews’ houses (in memory of ruined Jerusalem), something always has to be left unfinished.” to remember in the poem — remembrance as absence — 241.6 Language planes || Nationallibr.: Bühler — 241.7 ______ No syllogistic enriched with this or that theory of association, no logistic will ever be able to do justice to the fact of “poem” — the alleged thought- or language-scheme of the poem is never “finished.” ______ 241.8 syntactic (and other!) bracketings ______ 241.9 Oppositeness? ______ 241.10 Multivocity ______ 241.11 139. Psalm: nox illuminatio mea ... darkness is like the light 246 246.1 an uneasiness similar to that in “Lyrik-Dichtung) relation to the word → “Schrifttum / literature” The uneasiness Lyrik (which Heine the progress therein uses…) Tension between Lyrik = Dichtung
QuestionsLyric Poetry “Problems of Poetry”246.2 We live in a brightly lit time, a time that illustrates everything; lyric poetry has a cosmopolitan trait: “Felice notte!” our so beneficially contradictory god poetizes. Benn… 246.3 _______ The secret marriage the word contracts in the poem with the real and the true is called “wild” mainly by those who do not want to forgo their lushly comfortable, well-guarded culture-harem and — especially — the eunuchal services that come with it. (Poetry certainly does not threaten this seraglio with any kind of abduction) 246.3 The — oh so wordily lamented — loss of tradition: the legitimism of those who “legitimize” themselves everywhere, so as not to have to justify themselves to themselves.
|Excerpts from Paul Celan’s microliths (I)
It is part of poetry’s essential features that it releases the poet, its crown witness and confidant, from their shared knowledge once it has taken on form. (If it were different, there would barely be a poet who could take on the responsibility of having written more than one poem.)
—Poetry as event
§ Read at Excerpts from Paul Celan’s microliths
Further excerpts from Paul Celan’s microliths (II)
Certain “citizens” and the poem: They buy the surprise bag; one knows vaguely what’s in it, it won’t be much, but then it doesn’t cost much either, and if one happens to visit the fair and one has enjoyed the lady without lower- but with upper body, one’s amusement also demands this. And when what’s in it turns out — but here too the buyer’s superior humor can prove itself — to be even cheaper than cheap, there still remains the fun that all of that was “too.
§ Excerpts from Paul Celan, Microliths. These translations are © Pierre Joris