Paul Celan: Only One Thing Remained Reachable

12 November 2018

Only one thing remained reachable, close and secure amid all losses: language. Yes, language. In spite of everything, it remained secure against loss. But it had to go through its own lack of answers, through terrifying silence, through the thousand darknesses of murderous speech. It went through. It gave me no words for what was happening, but went through it. Went through and could resurface, ‘enriched’ by it all.
Paul Celan, from Speech on the Occasion of Receiving the Literature Prize of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen

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