I guess this is the world I live in, where people are more eager to type reviews on flash-in-the-pan musical phenomena and rant and rave over Oprah's Frey guy fabricating aspects of his memoir, as if these are something new. And, uh, I am the first person to review perhaps the most striking and life-changing book of poetry to be produced in this or any other century. I should live in France or Germany: they've always been all over Celan there. As for America, we're still stuck on Eliot. Seems we have a hunch that poetry died after that. It's called television. Well, to catch us up, Paul Celan is the most strikingly innovative, tragic, cabbalistic, inter-animistic poet since Rimbaud (who, I suppose, is also considered a delicacy in these waters). If you want to read an account of surviving the Holocaust while watching your parents die from it, nothing could move your soul more mysteriously than the discombobulated rhythms and letters in these poems. Praying for the day when I talk about Celan in a deep and moving fashion with like-minded enthusiasts. Guess I have to take up comparative literature for that right now.
Well, Pierre Joris's adept translations of these poems do not necessitate that you move into comparative lit. You get to see the German originals on the left so you are effectively able to compare the translations on the right. Both sides defy what one imagines poetry could be. So much more moving than other poetry considered experimental. He was writing in the vanguard to save his life and it shows.